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New federal agreement allows Cherokee Nation to pursue its own road construction projects

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 23:11:50-04

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee nation now has more authority in its ability to improve its roads thanks to an historic compact. The tribe hosted the US Deputy Secretary of Transportation Tuesday afternoon.

They say this is the first transportation agreement between a tribe and the federal government. It’s called the “tribal transportation self-governance program and funding agreement.”

The signing Tuesday allows the tribe to plan and oversee its own road construction, planning and transit projects. Previously the tribe needed authorization from the federal government to do any kind of major road projects.

Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. says it is a huge step in improving life for rural communities within the Cherokee reservation.

Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg says they have had a great working relationship with the tribe which is one of the main reasons they agreed to this partnership.

“We have a lot of new dollars to bring to the table and we want to make sure we are really working closely on the ground to meet the needs of all these local communities. We hope this is a template for a lot of agreements to come,” Trottenberg said.

After the signing, Chief Hoskin Jr. and tribal officials showed the deputy secretary its new EV charging ports outside the Cherokee casino along with its new electric buses.

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