U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), released the following statement after Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced that the DOT has approved a $21 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to restore Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Route 10 in Lower Brule. In October 2017, Thune wrote to Secretary Chao on behalf of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (LBST) to highlight how this project and the subsequent funding would positively affect the tribal community.
“I don’t need to tell South Dakotans that safe and efficient transportation is essential in our day-to-day lives,” said Thune. “In this case, ensuring BIA Route 10, which serves as the only direct road from Lower Brule to essential services in Pierre, including emergency response, health care, and education, is critically important to the tribal community.
“South Dakota has a strong partner in Secretary Chao, and I want to thank her for taking action so this important infrastructure project can move forward. I also want to congratulate Chairman Gourneau and the members of the LBST. I commend them for making this project a priority by submitting this request and pursuing its approval. This wouldn’t have been accomplished without their leadership.”
“The highly competitive TIGER program recognizes projects that will have a significant impact on a region, metropolitan areas, or our country as a whole,” said Secretary Chao.
As a result of a large sinkhole, BIA Route 10 was closed in 2016, which meant a substantial portion of the LBST lost access to its primary transportation route. These newly awarded funds will go toward resurfacing the roadway and installing new culverts and other roadway improvements.