Tribal Council authorizes adding roads to TTP
TAHLEQUAH – When they convened on March 11, Cherokee Nation legislators approved a resolution regarding the tribe’s “transportation facilities inventory.”
The language referred to roads being included in the CN’s Tribal Transportation Program, directed by the Office of Federal Lands Highway under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
TTP services are received through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, hence the Tribal Council measure was a resolution authorizing the BIA to add 28.9 miles of road in Ottawa, Washington and Sequoyah counties to the tribe’s “inventory.”
However, CN Transportation Director Michael Lynn said the CN has no immediate plans for any of the roads.
“The term ‘transportation facilities’ means roads, streets, bridges, parking areas, transit vehicles or other related transportation infrastructure,” Lynn said. “Adding these roadway segments to the Nation’s TTP inventory allows federal funding to be utilized to make potential improvements to these roadways should the Nation ever prioritize them for construction. The Nation currently has nearly 3,300 miles of roads on its TTP inventory.”
Lynn said the newly included stretches of road all hold some type of significance for the tribe.
“All of the routes either provide access to American Indian homes, access to historical places, access to natural resources, or access to economic developments,” he said. “One of the routes added to the inventory this year leads to Sequoyah’s Cabin located in Sequoyah County. The tribe purchased Sequoyah’s Cabin from the Oklahoma Historical Society in November 2016.”
The only Sequoyah County addition is the 350-yard long road, for which the tribe is responsible for maintenance, between Sequoyah’s Cabin and Highway 101.
In Ottawa County, the longest stretches include a 1.4-mile section of Miami’s E Street SW, which includes a part of Highway 125, and 1.3 miles of 20th Ave. SW that is jointly maintained by Miami and Ottawa County. Other designations in the county are Miami street portions of a half-mile or less.
In Washington County, 2.9 miles of Highway 10 was included in the resolution, with the other designations being under county maintenance. The longest sections included 5.2 miles of road in the Copan Wildlife Management Area, 3.8 and 0.9 miles of Cotton Creek Road near Wann and 3.3 miles of Cotton Valley Road near the Kansas border.
USDOT reports that the TTP is the largest program in the Office of Federal Lands Highway with an anticipated budget of $505 million in fiscal 2020. The TTP is intended “to provide safe and adequate transportation and public road access to and within Indian reservations, Indian lands, and Alaska Native Village communities.” USDOT further states on its website that an overarching goal of the TTP is “to contribute to the economic development, self-determination, and employment of Indians and Native Americans.”