On April 6, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small announced that New Mexico Tribes will receive over $674,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The funds are part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that the entire New Mexico delegation voted to pass Congress last week.
The grants are part of $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for federal programs benefiting Indian tribes. The CARES Act also established a $8 billion Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund to ensure Tribes have “one stop” access to resources to fund a Tribal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Mexico Tribes will receive $674,279 to fund Tribal public transportation systems for their communities.
“Tribes have made it abundantly clear that the effects of COVID-19 on Indian Country will be devastating if they do not receive necessary public health, economic stabilization, and infrastructure resources,” said Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “As Tribally-owned and operated businesses are forced to shutter to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the federal government must now more than ever stand shoulder to should with Tribal governments to continue to provide essential services. Reliable access to transportation is especially important for Tribal communities during this public health crisis so that families can get the resources and health care they need, especially because transportation infrastructure in many Tribal communities is severely inadequate and in disrepair. This additional funding is a step in the right direction. As the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, I will keep working to ensure Tribal communities have the full support of the federal government to stay healthy and financially afloat in this challenging time.”
"Tribal governments are facing unique challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to confronting a public health crisis with already strapped medical resources, they are also losing much of the revenue they rely on from Tribal enterprises disappearing,” said Heinrich. “This federal funding support will help make up some of those losses and ensure tribal communities can continue maintaining their transportation services, which is absolutely critical right now for connecting health care workers to those who need medical attention. I will continue doing everything I can to deliver the lifesaving resources tribes in New Mexico need to get through this emergency and rebuild thriving communities when it is over."
“Tribes are among the hardest hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s critical that we support investments that will support Indian Country’s public health, economy, and infrastructure. This critical grant for Tribal Nations will help keep essential services running during this public health crisis,” said Luján. “As Congress negotiates another coronavirus response package, I am continuing to work with Tribal leaders to address the needs of their communities.”
“Transportation infrastructure is important to ensuring Native Americans have access to the health care and resources to combat the coronavirus, however Tribes have been left behind for decades. The delegation and I worked hard to make sure the transportation funding available in the coronavirus stimulus package included dollars specifically for Tribes, so they have what they need to support public health, safety, and economic stability during this trying time,” said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.
“First responders across Pueblo of Isleta, Pueblo of Laguna, and Zuni Pueblo depend on safe, reliable public transportation options as they rise to meet the challenges from the current public health emergency. I’m proud to share this funding will support frontline essential workers by keeping our public transit systems in operation and I will continue to ensure Tribes and Pueblos are not left out of Congress’ response to COVID19,” said Torres Small.
The full breakdown of the $674,279 grants is below, distributed under Section 5311(c), Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Formula Apportionments:
• Jicarilla Apache Nation, $36,605
• Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, $86,691
• Pojoaque Pueblo, $16,893
• Pueblo of Isleta, $38,990
• Pueblo of Laguna, $88,113
• Pueblo of Nambé, $10,033
• Pueblo of San Ildefonso, $16,452
• Pueblo of Santa Ana, $56,079
• Pueblo of Santa Clara, $123,759
• Tesuque Pueblo, $19,791
• Zuni Pueblo, $180,873