By Tristan Ahtone
LARAMIE, wyo – Transportation officials for the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes say the formula that determines funding for roads on reservations is failing. In a field hearing with the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, tribal officials from Wyoming and across the country recommended that the federal government change the funding formula so tribes could update and expand roads on reservations.
One of the most controversial pieces of the current federal formula is called Vehicle Miles Traveled. VMT sets funding by the amount of traffic it gets.
Transportation Director for the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes, John Smith, says that formula has left Wind River reservation with fewer dollars to improve infrastructure.
"So it would be coming up with a different formula that would address the road mouths, the land base and the population rather than traffic and so forth," says Smith.
Smith says roads on the Wind River Reservation were built in the 50's and 60's and do not meet safety standards. He says equal funding would help remedy that problem.