The Navajo Nation
Office of the President and Vice President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2022
President Nez discusses ARPA infrastructure priorities with Ramah Navajo officials
RAMAH, New Mexico – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Community Development Division Executive Director Dr. Pearl Yellowman met on Wednesday with representatives from the Ramah Navajo Chapter and the Ramah Navajo School Board in Ramah, NM, to discuss infrastructure priorities under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and other federal funding sources.
Last week, the Council of the Navajo Nation rejected legislation originally intended to provide about $1 billion for water and wastewater projects, power for homes, broadband connectivity band, housing for families and other essential infrastructure based on needs. Unfortunately, the original legislation was changed to divide the billion dollars “equally” among the 24 members of the Council to use at their discretion, according to the sponsor of the amendment.
Since then, technical experts have been working on developing new legislation that will soon be introduced based on numerous meetings with chapter leaders, agency boards, council members and proposals submitted through the portal. Community Development Division online. Each proposal is carefully reviewed to ensure compliance with US Treasury guidelines regarding the use of ARPA funds.
“We think of our nation as a whole, looking to generations to come to make our communities stronger for future development and that requires investment in basic infrastructure. The plan we will propose is based on priorities at the local level, which will also benefit the most remote communities that have a great need for running water, electricity and other basic necessities that the larger communities already have. . We are also looking to invest in more PPE, isolation facilities and other proactive measures in the event of future outbreaks of COVID-19 or other viruses. This is a comprehensive plan that will help in many areas related to health care, mental health, infrastructure, Chapter priorities and much more,” said President Nez.
Wednesday’s meeting with Ramah officials focused on the need to replace the Ramah Navajo school’s outdated electrical system and provide more running water, electricity and broadband services to the more than 3 500 inhabitants. The new legislation will include an additional $3.6 million for the electrical system and additional millions for water and electricity services for the Ramah community.
Regarding broadband, the office of the Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission submitted an application for 80 broadband projects in various communities in the Navajo Nation, which is supported by the National Telecommunications Administration and of Information (NTIA) using approved $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding. by Congress and signed by President Biden.
“There are funds available through other federal sources such as NTIA, Indian Health Service and others that supplement ARPA funds. Technical experts, most of whom are Navajo professionals, considered all federal resources to raise funds. ARPA is only one source of funding. The soon-to-be-presented plan is comprehensive and we are looking at the entire Navajo Nation, not just the 24 delegated areas,” President Nez added.
The Office of the President and Vice President expresses its gratitude to the Ramah Navajo Chapter and School for hosting the discussion and working together to help build critical infrastructure for the Navajo people.