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Cherokee Nation Participates In Transportation Program That Gives More Autonomy, "Seat At The Table"

A roadway in Cherokee County
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The Cherokee Nation recently completed a $6.3 million road and bridge project connecting Cherokee and Muskogee Counties with the new bridge, which was built over an old dirt road that had been abandoned for years due to its rough terrain and flooding.

The Cherokee Nation will become the first tribe to participate in a new transportation program. This will let them plan and execute road projects without having to get approval from the federal government.

They will participate in the U.S. Department of Transportation Self Governance Program. They will now have the autonomy to finance road and transit projects throughout their reservation. It also means the tribal nation will receive transportation funding up front, instead of being reimbursed for road construction projects, as they had been in the past

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. says this means safer and better roadways throughout the reservation.

"My experience and Cherokee Nation's history with self-governance is that it enables us to have a seat at the table with these agencies so that if we see policies and regulations that need to be changed, I think we have a stronger hand in that."

The Cherokee Nation invested nearly five million dollars in roadway projects throughout Oklahoma in 2020. So far this year, they've invested $1.7 million and paved 49 miles of roadway.

“The Cherokee Nation has led a sophisticated transportation program for several years helping our tribal communities, state and federal partners with safer, well-maintained roadways in the reservation,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

"Having oversight for the first time to plan, lead and oversee the finance of our own road projects will only mean more and better investments in terms of travel and infrastructure in the Cherokee Nation to the benefit of thousands of citizens."

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