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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 725

To amend the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century to provide 
 from the Highway Trust Fund additional funding for Indian reservation 
                     roads, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             March 27, 2003

 Mr. Bingaman (for himself, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Dayton, and Mr. Leahy) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
                      Committee on Indian Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century to provide 
 from the Highway Trust Fund additional funding for Indian reservation 
                     roads, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Tribal Transportation Program 
Improvement Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) because many Indian tribes are located in remote areas, 
        transportation is particularly important to the basic quality 
        of life and economic development of Indian tribes;
            (2) safe roads are essential for--
                    (A) Indian children to travel to and from school;
                    (B) sick and elderly individuals to receive basic 
                health care and medical treatment; and
                    (C) food and other necessities to be delivered to 
                shops and consumers;
            (3) transportation is critical to the efforts of Indian 
        tribes to--
                    (A) sustain robust economies; and
                    (B) attract new jobs and businesses;
            (4) most Indian tribes lack the basic transportation 
        systems that other people in the United States take for 
        granted;
            (5) Indian communities continue to lag behind the rest of 
        the United States in quality of life and economic vitality;
            (6) unemployment rates in Indian country frequently exceed 
        50 percent, and poverty rates often exceed 40 percent;
            (7) the limited availability of housing and jobs on Indian 
        reservations forces people to commute long distances each day 
        to travel to work or school, obtain health care, take advantage 
        of basic government services, go shopping, or even obtain 
        drinking water;
            (8) the Indian reservation roads system established under 
        title 23, United States Code, comprises more than 50,000 miles 
        of roads under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
        and tribal, State, county, and local governments;
            (9) more than \2/3\ of those roads are not paved, and many 
        resemble roads in third-world countries;
            (10) as of the date of enactment of this Act, approximately 
        140 of the 753 bridges under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of 
        Indian Affairs are rated as being deficient;
            (11) The Indian reservation roads system serves both 
        Indians and the general public and is part of a unified 
        national road network;
            (12) even though the Indian reservation roads system is 
        perhaps the most rudimentary of any transportation network in 
        the United States, more than 2,000,000,000 vehicle miles are 
        traveled annually on the system;
            (13) the poor quality of so many Indian reservation roads 
        has a serious impact on highway safety;
            (14) according to the Federal Highway Administration, the 
        highway fatality rate on Indian reservation roads is 4 times 
        the national average highway fatality rate on all roads;
            (15) automobile accidents are the primary cause of death 
        for young Indian individuals; and
            (16) the Federal Highway Administration estimates the 
        backlog of improvement needs for Indian reservation roads at 
        approximately $6,800,000,000.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to reauthorize, expand, 
and streamline the Indian reservation roads program to improve 
transportation safety and better meet the needs of Indian individuals 
and other members of the traveling public.

SEC. 3. INDIAN RESERVATION ROADS.

    (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--Section 1101(a)(8)(A) of the 
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (112 Stat. 112) is 
amended by striking ``of such title'' and all that follows and 
inserting ``of that title--
                            ``(i) $225,000,000 for fiscal year 1998;
                            ``(ii) $275,000,000 for each of fiscal 
                        years 1999 through 2003;
                            ``(iii) $350,000,000 for fiscal year 2004;
                            ``(iv) $425,000,000 for fiscal year 2005; 
                        and
                            ``(v) $500,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
                        2006 through 2009.''.
    (b) Obligation Ceiling.--Section 1102(c)(1) of the Transportation 
Equity Act for the 21st Century (23 U.S.C. 104 note; 112 Stat. 116) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``distribute obligation'' and inserting the 
        following: ``distribute--
                    ``(A) obligation'';
            (2) by inserting ``and'' after the semicolon at the end; 
        and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(B) for any fiscal year after fiscal year 2003, 
                any amount of obligation authority made available for 
                Indian reservation road bridges under section 
                202(d)(4), and for Indian reservation roads under 
                section 204, of title 23, United States Code;''.
    (c) Indian Reservation Road Bridges.--Section 202(d)(4) of title 
23, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (B)--
                    (A) by striking ``(B) Reservation.--Of the 
                amounts'' and all that follows through ``to replace,'' 
                and inserting the following:
                    ``(B) Funding.--
                            ``(i) Reservation of funds.--
                        Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
                        there is authorized to be appropriated from the 
                        Highway Trust Fund $15,000,000 for each of 
                        fiscal years 2004 through 2009 to carry out 
                        planning, design, engineering, construction, 
                        and inspection of projects to replace,''; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following:
                            ``(ii) Availability.--Funds made available 
                        to carry out this subparagraph shall be 
                        available for obligation in the same manner as 
                        if the funds were apportioned under chapter 
                        1.''; and
            (2) in subparagraph (D)--
                    (A) by striking ``(D) Approval requirement.--'' and 
                inserting the following:
                    ``(D) Approval and need requirements.--''; and
                    (B) by striking ``only on approval of the plans, 
                specifications, and estimates by the Secretary.'' and 
                inserting ``only--
                            ``(i) on approval by the Secretary of 
                        plans, specifications, and estimates relating 
                        to the projects; and
                            ``(ii) in amounts directly proportional to 
                        the actual need of each Indian reservation, as 
                        determined by the Secretary based on the number 
                        of deficient bridges on each reservation and 
                        the projected cost of rehabilitation of those 
                        bridges.''.
    (d) Fair and Equitable Distribution.--Section 202(d) of title 23, 
United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
            ``(5) Fair and equitable distribution.--To ensure that the 
        distribution of funds to an Indian tribe under this subsection 
        is fair, equitable, and based on valid transportation needs of 
        the Indian tribe, the Secretary shall--
                    ``(A) verify the existence, as of the date of the 
                distribution, of all roads that are part of the Indian 
                reservation road system; and
                    ``(B) distribute funds based only on those 
                roads.''.
    (e) Indian Reservation Road Planning.--Section 204(j) of title 23, 
United States Code, is amended in the first sentence by striking ``2 
percent'' and inserting ``4 percent''.

SEC. 4. FEDERAL LANDS HIGHWAY PROGRAM DEMONSTRATION PROJECT.

    Section 202(d)(3) of title 23, United States Code, is amended by 
adding at the end the following:
                    ``(C) Federal lands highway program demonstration 
                project.--
                            ``(i) In general.--The Secretary shall 
                        establish a demonstration project under which 
                        all funds made available under this title for 
                        Indian reservation roads and for highway 
                        bridges located on Indian reservation roads as 
                        provided for in subparagraph (A) shall be made 
                        available, on the request of an affected Indian 
                        tribal government, to the Indian tribal 
                        government for use in carrying out, in 
                        accordance with the Indian Self-Determination 
                        and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450 et 
                        seq.), contracts and agreements for the 
                        planning, research, engineering, and 
                        construction described in that subparagraph.
                            ``(ii) Exclusion of agency participation.--
                        In accordance with subparagraph (B), all funds 
                        for Indian reservation roads and for highway 
                        bridges located on Indian reservation roads to 
                        which clause (i) applies shall be paid without 
                        regard to the organizational level at which the 
                        Federal lands highway program has previously 
                        carried out the programs, functions, services, 
                        or activities involved.
                            ``(iii) Selection of participating 
                        tribes.--
                                    ``(I) Participants.--
                                            ``(aa) In general.--For 
                                        each fiscal year, the Secretary 
                                        shall select 12 geographically 
                                        diverse Indian tribes from the 
                                        applicant pool described in 
                                        subclause (II) to participate 
                                        in the demonstration project 
                                        carried out under clause (i).
                                            ``(bb) Consortia.--Two or 
                                        more Indian tribes that are 
                                        otherwise eligible to 
                                        participate in a program or 
                                        activity to which this title 
                                        applies may form a consortium 
                                        to be considered as a 
single tribe for the purpose of becoming part of the applicant pool 
under subclause (II).
                                            ``(cc) Funding.--An Indian 
                                        tribe participating in the 
                                        pilot program under this 
                                        subparagraph shall receive 
                                        funding in an amount equal to 
                                        the sum of the funding that the 
                                        Indian tribe would otherwise 
                                        receive in accordance with the 
                                        funding formula established 
                                        under the other provisions of 
                                        this subsection, and an 
                                        additional percentage of that 
                                        amount equal to the percentage 
                                        of funds withheld during the 
                                        applicable fiscal year for the 
                                        road program management costs 
                                        of the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
                                        under subsection (f)(1).
                                    ``(II) Applicant pool.--The 
                                applicant pool described in this 
                                subclause shall consist of each Indian 
                                tribe (or consortium) that--
                                            ``(aa) has successfully 
                                        completed the planning phase 
                                        described in subclause (III);
                                            ``(bb) has requested 
                                        participation in the 
                                        demonstration project under 
                                        this subparagraph through the 
                                        adoption of a resolution or 
                                        other official action by the 
                                        tribal governing body; and
                                            ``(cc) has demonstrated 
                                        financial stability and 
                                        financial management capability 
                                        in accordance with subclause 
                                        (III) during the 3-fiscal year 
                                        period immediately preceding 
                                        the fiscal year for which 
                                        participation under this 
                                        subparagraph is being 
                                        requested.
                                    ``(III) Criteria for determining 
                                financial stability and financial 
                                management capacity.--For the purpose 
                                of subclause (II), evidence that, 
                                during the 3-year period referred to in 
                                subclause (II)(cc), an Indian tribe had 
                                no uncorrected significant and material 
                                audit exceptions in the required annual 
                                audit of the Indian tribe's self-
                                determination contracts or self-
                                governance funding agreements with any 
                                Federal agency shall be conclusive 
                                evidence of the required stability and 
                                capability.
                                    ``(IV) Planning phase.--
                                            ``(aa) In general.--An 
                                        Indian tribe (or consortium) 
                                        requesting participation in the 
                                        demonstration project under 
                                        this subparagraph shall 
                                        complete a planning phase that 
                                        shall include legal and 
                                        budgetary research and internal 
                                        tribal government and 
                                        organization preparation.
                                            ``(bb) Eligibility.--A 

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