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Tribes in Alaska receive federal funding to support transit services

Nine Alaska Tribes will receive federal funds from the Federal Transit Administration to improve transportation in their communities.

In remarks for Native American Heritage Month, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao noted the large gap in addressing rural transportation needs.

“As you know so well, rural infrastructure has been overlooked for far too long, especially on tribal lands,” Chao said.

The largest grant in Alaska is going to the Native Village of Noorvik in the Northwest Arctic Borough. The $1,830,000 in funding will go towards housing the village’s only transit bus.

In an email statement, Berenda Newlin, the tribe’s transportation planner, says the bus brings students to and from school, and also helps shuttle people to the local post office, store and airport. She says the bus had been vandalized in the past, and they’re hopeful the new storage building will deter would-be vandals. The building will also house a mechanic’s area for regular maintenance.

Additionally, Tribes in Mountain Village, Allakaket and Iliamna will receive federal funding to purchase a transit vehicle and begin services in their communities.