Indianz.Com > News > MSU News: Grant helps tribes address transportation needs
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On the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham
Montana State part of $2.25M tribal transportation effort
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
MSU News Service

BOZEMAN — As part of a consortium that was recently awarded up to $2.25 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University will provide transportation outreach and technical assistance to tribes across the Upper Great Plains and Intermountain West.

The five-year funding will support the Tribal Technical Assistance Program, or TTAP, which is led by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University. The program will work with American Indian tribal governments to build tribal capacity in program management, grow the tribal workforce, cultivate and coordinate partnerships, facilitate technology transfer and the implementation of innovations, and share results of similar initiatives across the country.

The work will be conducted in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The initial grant is for roughly $600,000 for two years with the potential for extensions and expansion over the next five years.

“WTI looks forward to sharing with tribes in our region, building their capacity to administer and manage their own transportation programs and systems,” said WTI Executive Director David Kack. “WTI has a long history of solving rural road challenges and collaborating with tribes, as well as partnering with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.”

The Northern Tribal Technical Assistance Center will serve the BIA’s Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Regions, which includes 29 tribes across Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Eight of these tribes are located in Montana. The funds will be shared through NDSU with MSU, South Dakota State University and the University of Wyoming.

All of the participating universities host and manage existing FHWA-funded Local Technical Assistance Programs, or LTAPs, that provide transportation outreach to local units of government. WTI houses Montana’s LTAP.

There is also considerable expertise within the collaborating universities focused on rural roads, rural road safety, and other transportation issues faced by tribes, Kack noted. The collective resources and outreach experience will be invaluable to the efforts of the Northern TTAP, he said.

The Northern TTAP will also work closely with state departments of transportation in the region to tap expertise within those departments and to help them better integrate tribal transportation networks into their own statewide and regional networks.

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