Audit Reports

-A A +A

Opportunities Exist To Strengthen FHWA’s Coordination, Guidance, and Oversight of the Tribal Transportation Program

Project ID: 

On October 30, 2013, we issued a report on the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) oversight of the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP) which provides funding for projects that support safe and adequate transportation and public road access to and within tribal lands, and Alaska Native Villages. From fiscal years 2005 to 2012, the TTP received about $3.5 billion in congressional appropriations, including $310 million provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. FHWA’s Office of Federal Lands Highway (FLH) and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) jointly administer and oversee the TTP. Our report assessed whether FLH is effectively coordinating with BIA and providing adequate oversight of TTP projects under agreements with tribes. We found that FLH and BIA routinely coordinate in key TTP areas; however, FLH and BIA have opportunities to improve coordination on National Environmental Policy Act approvals and final acceptance of TTP projects. We also found that while FLH has some processes for reviewing the tribes’ management of transportation projects, its oversight is not based on sufficient data on tribes’ program risks and needs. In addition, we found that the TTP is governed by an outdated regulation and unclear guidance in some key areas on how to implement that regulation, such as allowable uses of funds. FLH concurred with our seven recommendations, which were focused on strengthening stewardship and oversight of the TTP program




Closed on 02.11.2019
No. 1 to FHWA

Coordinate with BIA to update the Memorandum of Agreement and Stewardship Plan to reflect FLH's role to directly assist tribes, and define coordination between FLH and BIA regional offices.

Closed on 12.03.2015
No. 2 to FHWA

Create a centralized database to capture financial and status information for tribal transportation projects.

Closed on 01.24.2014
No. 3 to FHWA

Develop a process that ensures sufficient consultation with BIA for tribes transitioning to FLH, and requires FLH to consistently assess tribal capabilities and associated risks in administering transportation programs.

Closed on 03.18.2014
No. 4 to FHWA

Develop a process that ensures consistent and comprehensive reviews of tribal projects, including a standard site visit checklist of key risk areas for the tribes.

Closed on 01.18.2017
No. 5 to FHWA

Coordinate with BIA to revise the TTP regulation to reflect FLH's role to directly assist tribes and clarify the requirements for allowable uses of funds.

Closed on 01.24.2014
No. 6 to FHWA

Design a series of remedial actions that FLH officials can take for tribes not meeting program requirements.

Closed on 01.18.2017
No. 7 to FHWA

Revise Tribal Transportation Improvement Program guidance to ensure consistent definitions of key terminology, particularly financial constraint, and require tribes to provide more detailed information on project scope and funding sources.