Tester, Franken fight to invest in infrastructure, increase public safety in Indian Country

(U.S. Senate) – Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) are pushing for greater infrastructure and public safety investments in Indian Country.

In a letter to the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee Chairman Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tester and Franken urged the committee to provide additional infrastructure resources to Indian Country as they continue work on the Highway Bill.

“Underinvestment in the transportation systems of Indian communities has substantial impacts ranging from stagnant economic development to grave safety conditions,” the Senators wrote. “We must pass a long-term transportation bill, and this must include a greater focus on the needs of Indian Country.”

Earlier this year, Tester and Franken heard directly from tribal leaders about the dire condition of roads and bridges in Indian Country and the increasing safety challenges that come with the lack of infrastructure upgrades.

According to the National Congress of American Indians, only seven percent of roads owned and maintained by Indian tribes and only 25 percent of Bureau of Indian Affairs operated roads are paved. Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of unintentional injury or death for Native Americans of all ages.

Tester and Franken’s letter is available HERE.