Truck traffic on Fort Berthold roads have had important impacts on transportation infrastructure, safety, and the environment. With data, leadership and strategic long-term planning, we can identify transportation needs and potential solutions to better improve road safety, transportation efficiency, affordability, and quality of life for our communities.

Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)

What is a Long Range Transportation Plan?
A Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) is a process that identifies and prioritizes regional transportation projects on a local and reservation-wide level over the next 20 years that will address community transportation needs and improve our quality of life. Topics that are usually included in a LRTP are: road construction and maintenance, public transit, roadway safety, pedestrians, bicycles, recreational trails, and airports. A LRTP sets goals, identifies needs, and establishes steps to be taken according to a schedule determined by the Tribe. It reflects the Tribe’s vision for the region’s transportation systems and services, prepared through collaboration with Federal, State, County, and additional stakeholders as well as through consensus from the Tribal communities. A LRTP identifies methods to achieve long-term transportation goals, establishes tribal ownership of the process, defines road control and jurisdiction, identifies the programs that will be implementing each project, and the resources necessary to pay for them. This acts as a guide of major projects for the next 20 years, and helps to organize and prioritize significant projects.

A LRTP is required by federal law as a prerequisite to accessing federal transportation funds for road construction, transit, and highway safety. The planning process also provides a mechanism for road users and the public to have input into the plans and priorities before they move into the construction phase. A Tribal LRTP considers the ownership of each road and provides clear recommendations and input into the State and county planning processes. In the current oil-boom environment, it is important to identify the major transportation needs across the reservation. In addition, transportation related issues are constantly changing on the Fort Berthold Reservation so the LRTP must be able to remain flexible while still addressing the current issues. The LRTP should be updated every 5 years.

Although MHA Nation has a current Long Range Transportation Plan (see in the Resources page below), there have been no major updates since 2006. In addition, we have never had a complete multi-modal plan; the previous version only includes roads (not freight, air, transit) and there has been very limited public involvement in the process. The proposed update for the LRTP will include a multi-modal assessment of existing infrastructure with a focus on performance, demands, future needs and projects, community input and involvement, and connectivity with off-reservation communities and services.


Why is Long Range Transportation Planning Important?

Oil Impacts.

The oil boom has had an important impact on Fort Berthold transportation. A LRTP is vital to understanding how and if our transportation needs are currently being met, and how we can improve the system in the future. Estimates show oil production increasing sharply in the short-term and continuing for at least the next 50 years, indicating a clear need for strategic long-term road planning.


Tribal Self-Determination and Sovereignty.

Good governance includes taking responsibility for reliable, safe and affordable transportation for the community. By developing a LRTP, we establish ownership of the transportation planning process, work towards achieving our long-term transportation goals, define road ownership and jurisdiction, and create leverage to hold BIA, State, and County agencies responsible for road maintenance and safety on Fort Berthold.

Road Safety.

The remote Fort Berthold roads were designed to rural agricultural standards; most roads are unpaved and the large number of semi-trucks carrying heavy loads on them not only deteriorates the road condition, but poses a significant safety concern for residents. In order to improve transportation safety on Fort Berthold, collecting crash data (including seat belt use, alcohol, or drug related crashes) as part of the LRTP will help us make more informed decisions about how to improve Fort Berthold road safety.

Transportation Equity.

Access to affordable and reliable roads, public transit, and additional modes of transportation are essential to addressing poverty, unemployment, insufficient health care, and education needs. In order for MHA Nation to ensure equitable health services, employment opportunities, and access to education with neighboring Counties and States, we must invest in the transportation infrastructure and programs vital to achieving these goals.1

Fair Funding.

A LRTP is required by federal law as a prerequisite to accessing federal transportation funds for road construction, transit, and highway safety. In order for MHA Nation to receive its fair share of transportation funding, making updates to our current Long Range Transportation Plan that reflect the changes we have seen on Fort Berthold is vital.


Environmental Protection.

Oil truck traffic on Fort Berthold roads has had an important impact on the environment, air quality, and Climate Change. Estimates put nearly 7500 oil trucks on Fort Berthold roads a day, which can impact our air, water, and wildlife. A LRTP provides the opportunity to collect important transportation related environmental data, identify needs, and implement strategies for maintaining a healthy environment while meeting our transportation and development goals.


How many more Native Americans are dying in traffic related crashes compared to the rest of the population?


How many more Native Americans are dying in traffic crashes because a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol compared to the rest of the population?


How many more Native Americans are dying in traffic crashes because they aren’t using their seat belts compared to the rest of the population?


How many more Native Americans are dying in a traffic crash because a driver is speeding compared to the rest of the population?

Source: ruralsafetycenter.org
What would YOU like to see addressed in the Long Range Transportation Plan?
Enter your full name, a valid email address, and a detailed message in the forms just below to tell us what YOU would like to see in the LRTP. What else would you like to know about it? We also want your stories and perspectives on the questions framing this project; How did we end up with the transportation infrastructure that we currently have? Where is our transportation infrastructure today? Where do we want it to be in 20 years?

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  1. http://www.civilrights.org/transportation