The White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Tribal Playbook to help Tribal governments unlock the benefits from the historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure, including the more than $13 billion set aside in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Indian Country.
The Tribal Playbook, found at build.gov, builds on the release of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook and provides Tribal communities with information on the more specific Tribal funding available under the law, in addition to the hundreds of billions available to Tribes on a competitive basis.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will send billions of dollars to Indian Country to provide affordable high-speed internet, safer roads and bridges, modern wastewater and sanitation systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every Tribal community. As part of this effort, the Biden-Harris administration is also committed to working with Tribal communities to help them access federal resources.
“We are committed to ensuring Indian Country will benefit from this once-in-a-generation investment,” said Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor and infrastructure implementation coordinator. “Building a better America requires these funds to reach Tribal communities that have been left behind for far too long. The President sees you, and major investments are on the way.”
This week, the administration made progress in getting massive sanitation and water investments moving through the Indian Health Service and Environmental Protection Agency. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriates $3.5 billion to the Indian Health Service to build the infrastructure necessary to ensure a safe supply of drinking water, reliable sewage systems, and solid waste disposal facilities.
The funding will promote high-quality health care and disease prevention in Tribal communities. The first year, FY 2022, spend plan is estimated at $700 million and will be shared with Tribal communities through a Dear Tribal Leader Letter. EPA’s Office of Water will send another $154 million this year to Tribes for water projects through its Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds. This funding will go to projects that replace lead pipes and address harmful pollutants, among other eligible uses.
To help coordinate these and other water and wastewater infrastructure funds, EPA has revitalized the Tribal Infrastructure Task Force (ITF) through a new Memorandum of Understanding between seven federal agencies. Signatories include:
- The U.S Department of Agriculture.
- The Environmental Protection Agency.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation.
- The Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service.
- The Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition, the Departments of Transportation and Energy will also release funding for Tribal infrastructure that will increase road safety and power unelectrified buildings. The DOE issued a Notice of Intent for a $15 million investment to support powering unelectrified Tribal buildings. Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation announced nearly $9 million for the Federal Highway Administration’s Tribal Transportation Safety Program. Soon, they will announce the availability of an additional $120 million for the program over five years from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law six months ago, the Biden-Harris administration has made key progress toward implementing the largest long-term investment in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. More than $110 billion has been announced and allocated to states, Tribes, territories and communities from formula and competitive programs for roads and highways, bridges, ports, airports, electric vehicle charging stations, water systems, high speed internet and weatherization.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding builds off the Administration’s historic investment in Tribal communities in the American Rescue Plan, with $32 billion allocated to Tribal governments, including $20 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds – an historic financial level of support for more than 580 Tribal governments and the largest amount of funding to Tribal governments in ARP. To date, Tribal governments have obligated funds to nearly 900 projects that address the negative economic impacts of COVID and more than 1,800 other projects that are helping Indian Country recover and strengthen capacity.