Dear Chairman Hoeven and Vice Chairman Udall:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports S. 1211, the “Addressing Underdeveloped and Tribally Operated Streets (AUTOS) Act,” which the Committee is marking up tomorrow. The AUTOS Act would make significant positive changes to the ways in which transportation and infrastructure projects are addressed in Indian Country, including:
- Permitting the Secretary of Interior to grant categorical exclusions for certain road and bridge projects under the purview of the Department of Interior (DOI); this would create parity between the DOI and the Department of Transportation, which already has this authority for projects within their jurisdiction.
- Authorizing $46 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Road Maintenance Program, with an annual $2 million increase to that authorization over the subsequent four years
- Approving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to transfer funds to the BIA to repair BIA roads where CBP is the primary user of such roads.
- Authorizing an increase in money available for the Tribal Safety Transportation Program Safety Fund under the tribal transportation fund, from two to four percent.
The Chamber is a leading advocate for increasing infrastructure investment as a means to drive economic development and improve safety. We believe S. 1211 is an important component of that effort, and should be included in broader infrastructure legislation. Thank you for your leadership on these issues, and we urge the Committee to advance this legislation.
Neil L. Bradley
cc: Members of the Committee on Indian Affairs
cc: The Honorable Kevin Cramer