MAYETTA, KS – The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) was selected as the recipient of a significant grant to fund the PBPN Road Repair and Rehabilitation Project. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grant program awarded PBPN a grant amounting to $17,104,882 to improve the road infrastructure within the tribal community.
PBPN, a federally recognized tribe with a population of 1,760 residents, has long been committed to ensuring the safety, economic opportunity, and equity of its citizens. With this grant, the tribe aims to address the deteriorating roads within the tribal community.
The project entails patching, repairing, and overlaying approximately 27 miles of roadway pavement across the PBPN. In addition to road construction activities – such as cleaning and regrading ditches, replacing culverts, and adding shoulders to existing roads – the project will also include re-seeding and the installation of new signage. Approximately 3.1 miles of existing multi-use paths will undergo repairs, contributing to improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists within the tribal community.
The decision to award the grant was driven by various factors, including the condition of the existing road infrastructure at PBPN. Time and weather led to cracking and separation of the road surface. These problems have been exacerbated by soil movement and water damage, making the roads increasingly hazardous for drivers and reducing their useful lifespan.
“Our Nation faces transportation equity challenges due to historical injustices that have limited the tribe’s ownership of lands within its Common Lands,” said PBPN Chairman Joseph “Zeke” Rupnick. “As a result, essential facilities, such as the PBPN government center, are located several miles away from the fire department, child care center, and housing neighborhoods. Reliable road infrastructure is vital to ensuring safe transportation for PBPN residents, especially for school buses transporting children to off-reservation schools.”
To address these challenges comprehensively, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Road Repair and Rehabilitation Project is divided into multiple phases. Phase I, which involves full-depth replacement of 4.25 miles of roadway, is already underway and partially funded by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Phases II and III, funded by the RAISE grant, will encompass the patching, repair, and overlay of designated paved roads within the community. The remaining roadway improvements will be addressed in Phase IV.
By improving the road infrastructure, PBPN aims to enhance the quality of life for its residents, increase accessibility, and promote safer travel conditions. The removal of road hazards, such as cracks, potholes, and vegetation growth, will provide smoother and safer roads, benefiting all travelers. Furthermore, dependable infrastructure resulting from this project will lead to more consistent travel times, benefiting the community as a whole.
“I would like to thank Senator Moran who has been instrumental in making sure the needs of the Nation have been met in areas of infrastructure and agriculture,” said Rupnick. “With the RAISE grant funding and the tribe’s commitment to investing in its infrastructure, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation is set to embark on a transformative road repair and rehabilitation project that will positively impact the lives of its residents for years to come.”