TITLE: In Support of Increased Funding and Reauthorization of Tribal Transportation Programs in Indian Country
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, on December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, authorizing rising spending levels that will benefit Indian Country through fiscal year 2020; and
WHEREAS, NCAI supports the efforts by Congress to address the Transportation needs of Indian Country, but FAST Act spending levels do not fully address the unmet need in Indian Country; and
WHEREAS, the economy in Indian Country is intertwined with transportation infrastructure, and without safe and well-maintained roads, bridges, and adequate public transportation, tribal governments would be unable to provide essential services to its citizens; and
WHEREAS, the primary means of access to American Indian and Alaska Native communities by Native and non-Native residents and visitors are tribally-owned or BIA-owned roads and bridges; and
WHEREAS, it is critical that tribes coordinate their efforts in the reauthorization process to ensure that adequate funding is made available for desperately needed transportation infrastructure in Indian country; and
WHEREAS, resolution PHX-16-060 supports and recommends that Congress raise the federal fuel tax and/or secure other funding sources, thereby fully funding the Highway Trust Fund as a means of the federal government meeting its funding obligations to Indian Country; and
WHEREAS, the FAST Act will expire after fiscal year 2020 and will require reauthorization by Congress.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) does hereby reaffirm PHX-16-060 and support and recommend the Congress reauthorize a tribal transportation bill that remedies the ongoing unmet transportation, transit, and highway safety needs of Indian Country; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2018 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado October 21-26, 2018, with a quorum present.
Jefferson Keel, President
Juana Majel Dixon, Recording Secretary