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Regular Updates from Your Association

By Charles Rutkowski

Tribal Passenger Transportation Technical Assistance Program

I traveled to northern Wisconsin during the week of Dec. 10,  2018 providing technical assistance to three tribes, each a participant in the USDA-sponsored Tribal Passenger Transportation Technical Assistance Program. The first stop was at the St. Croix Indian Tribe of Wisconsin in Siren, Wis., which has 11 separate communities scattered over four counties. Three tribal casinos and hotels are primary sources of jobs for tribal members, but can be an hour’s drive from members’ homes. Because there are no public transportation services in the area, these jobs, as well as other services and programs, are not easily accessible for persons without automobile. Over the coming months, CTAA will assessing mobility needs, identifying transportation resources and developing a strategy and plan for initiation of a sustainable tribal transit program.

Next, I visited with staff of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Odanah, Wis. The Bad River Band has a transit service that operates within the Reservation and also connects to the City of Ashland, and the Bay Area Rural Transit (BART) program. A technical assistance plan completed over the past two years focused on improving the effectiveness of Bad River Transit’s route structure, as well as its marketing and community outreach. CTAA’s recommendations have been implemented, and are enabling more tribal residents to use the transit service.

Because there are no public transportation services in the area, these jobs, as well as other services and programs, are not easily accessible for persons without automobile. Over the coming months, CTAA will assessing mobility needs, identifying transportation resources and developing a strategy and plan for initiation of a sustainable tribal transit program.

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CTAA also is initiating a new technical assistance project with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Red Cliff, Wis. The Red Cliff and Bad River Bands are related and are both located on the south shore of Lake Superior. The Red Cliffs have a demand responsive transit program that serves tribal areas and is also linked to the BART service in Ashland. The Red Cliff transit program is operating at capacity, and requested assistance to enhance its capacity, and to help develop a new transit garage and operations center. CTAA staff will be returning to both The St. Croix and Red Cliff Tribes after the New Year to facilitate meetings with project stakeholders and community members.

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The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and its members believe that mobility is a basic human right. From work and education to life-sustaining health care and human services programs to shopping and visiting with family and friends, mobility directly impacts quality of life.