Interior’s surface transportation network is a key component of effective Federal land management practices including wildfire prevention and response and invasive species control. It also provides recreational access for Americans to hunt, fish, and enjoy other outdoor activities on their Federal lands and is essential to enhancing the visitor experience and ensuring visitor safety. Safe and reliable transportation systems are also good for business. These systems support local communities by facilitating the efficient movement of goods and services across Federal lands by small businesses, such as river guides, tour operators, and outfitters; by allowing ranchers to move their stock to rangeland; by linking timber harvesters to saw mills; and by providing equipment access for development of energy and mineral extraction projects. Interior’s constructed infrastructure assets directly enable our bureaus to fulfill our varied missions. In total, Interior is responsible for nearly 100,000 miles of road, nearly 4,000 bridges, 63 tunnels, 123 transit systems, and more than 50,000 miles of trails and primitive roads. Interior’s transportation and infrastructure system is critical to carrying out our mission and to ensure visitor enjoyment, access, and safety; to protect natural and cultural resources; and to provide access for resource development and working landscapes
Federal Lands Transportation Program
The Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP) is a jointly-administered program between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal land management agencies identified in statute, including Interior’s National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation. The FLTP is funded from the Highway Trust Fund through the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). In carrying out the FLTP, Interior balances optimizing the life cycle of our existing transportation infrastructure through necessary maintenance and investments in capital improvements with our resource stewardship responsibilities.
The FLTP is the primary funding source for major capital investments in Interior transportation facilities, which are a Federal responsibility. However, other funding sources are also utilized, including fee revenue, and annual appropriations to bureaus for construction, maintenance, and operations. A large portion of funds—more than $300 million each year—is associated with the FLTP. This funding source has been invaluable to Interior.
Tribal Transportation Program
Transportation infrastructure is also a critical part of the well-being of tribal communities. Interior serves as the steward of more than 56 million acres of tribal trust lands. These lands contain more than 27,800 miles of road (including 7,300 miles of paved; 5,000 miles of gravel; and 15,500 miles of earth/primitive surfacing); 1,600 miles of trails; and approximately 1,000 bridges.
The largest road program for tribal nations is the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP), funded from the Highway Trust Fund through the USDOT’s FHWA. The TTP distributes more than $500 million annually to federally-recognized tribes, through self-determination contracts or agreements. Each tribal government prioritizes its projects under this program via a Tribal Transportation Improvement Plan, approved by the FHWA.