NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico tribes will receive $674,279 in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund tribal public transportation systems for their communities.
U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich along with U.S. State Representatives Ben Ray Lujan, Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small made the announcement Monday.
The funds are part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that the New Mexico delegation voted to pass in Congress last week. The grants are part of $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for federal programs benefiting Indian tribes.
CARES Act also established an $8 billion Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund to make sure Tribes have “one-stop” access to resources.
“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. 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.”
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
“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. 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.”
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
“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. As Congress negotiates another coronavirus response package, I am continuing to work with Tribal leaders to address the needs of their communities.”
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)
“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