Choctaw Nation receives $25 million bike path grant

Paving an asphalt bike trail | For Construction Pros


Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation just received a $25 million federal grant for transportation development in its tribal areas of southeast Oklahoma.

It was one of 162 projects receiving more than $2.2 billion in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation under a program expanded under the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law.

The $2.26 billion for 162 projects provides funds for each of the 50 states, two territories and the District of Columbia. It is similar to the allocation for the grant program last year, the first after President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law that added funding for the program.

The Choctaw grant was described as going to an “area of persistent poverty and a historically disadvantaged community.”

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma - Wikipedia

As explained in the announcement, the project will construct roadways and shared use paths connecting to new residential developments. The federal government stated the project is “strong in quality of life, mobility and community connectivity”

It is meant to address the quality of life by increasing the affordable transportation choices in an underserved community. It would be accomplished by approximately 3 miles of bicycle lanes that could be accessed by 3,000 residents.

“The increase in non-motorized transportation options could improve the health of the community which received poor ratings from the state’s health report,” stated the announcement.

“Mobility and community connectivity will be addressed by the addition of the bicycle lanes that will provide connections for the residential developments to daily destinations.”

The projects include improvements and expansions of roads, rail, bridges, pedestrian trails and maritime infrastructure. Two grants were awarded in Kansas — $21.2 million for street improvements in Eudora and $17.1 million to repair 27 miles of roadway in the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

The Transportation Department has managed a similar discretionary grant program since 2010, though the name of the program and criteria have changed with each presidential administration. Funding levels, set by Congress, also vary year to year, ranging from roughly $500 million to more than $2 billion in each of the two years since the infrastructure law passed.

In a call with reporters previewing the announcement Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasized that all the projects were proposed and planned by local authorities.

“It is particularly focused on communities’ needs,” he said. “We don’t design the projects at headquarters. We are proceeding very much on the idea that the answers don’t all come from Washington, but more of the funding should.”

No project received more than $25 million from the program, the maximum for projects of less than $45 million total cost.  The department selected 22 projects to receive that maximum.

A full list of projects is available here.