WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today announced that the Committee has approved S. 1211, the Addressing Underdeveloped and Tribally Operated Streets (AUTOS) Act, legislation he sponsored to improve tribal road safety in Indian country.
“To address the significant backlog of deferred maintenance, the AUTOS Act would provide needed resources to the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” said Hoeven. “At our committee hearing in April, we heard about the importance of maintaining, constructing, and repairing roads and bridges throughout Indian country. Tribal communities rely on this vital infrastructure daily to transport patients to hospitals, deliver children to school or commute to work. Investing in this vital infrastructure will help improve public safety and is also important to economic development in these communities.”
The AUTOS Act, (S. 1211) does the following:
Aligns the Department of the Interior’s process of expediting environmental reviews for tribal transportation safety projects to be similar to the Department of Transportation’s process.
Authorizes $50 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Road Maintenance Program, with increases of $2 million per year.
Reinstates the Tribal Transportation Bridge Program as a standalone program instead of a 2 percent carve out in the Tribal Transportation Program.
Increases funding available for the Tribal Safety Transportation Program Safety Fund from 2 percent to 4 percent.
Directs the Secretaries of the Interior and Transportation to work with Indian Tribes in developing a standard and uniform crash report form.
Directs BIA law enforcement to use one standard crash report form.
S. 1211 is supported by the Spirit Lake Tribe of North Dakota, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Congress of American Indians.
Hoeven introduced the AUTOS Act on April 11, 2019. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Martha McSally (R-AZ). The AUTOS Act will now go to the full Senate for its consideration.