Eastern TTAP at
Michigan Tech

Pathways Newsletter
Spring 2016

Program Director
John Velat
Scott Bershing
Staff Assistant
Amanda Kerttu
Web Developer
Chris DelReal
Graduate Student Intern
Ronesha Strozier

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If you have any comments or feedback regarding our electronic Pathways Newsletter, feel free to send us an email at ttap@mtu.edu

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Building Bridges on the Road to Cultural Interchange
Ronesha Strozier
Eastern TTAP Graduate Intern

In February, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Wisconsin Inter Tribal Task Force (ITTF) cultural sensitivity training entitled “Building Bridges on the Road to Cultural Interchange”. As the intern, it is my job to learn about office policies, support new and ongoing programming, and to support the mission of TTAP, which is to increase tribal sovereignty within the realms of transportation infrastructure and development. I felt that this training accurately met the tenants of my responsibilities so I registered for the training. I will sum up my experience in three main points. This training taught me that there is always something new to learn. As someone who works with tribes, I thought I was knowledgeable, but the truth is I had no idea what I did not know. This training taught me that being present is powerful. Of course, I could have attended the training and daydreamed all day, but when you begin to invest, you enhance the learning experience. Finally, this training gave me tools to use in the fight for transportation equity for tribes. No, I am not responsible for the current set of laws, but I am a part of the system that enforces those laws. In general, this training allowed me to see transportation from someone else’s point of view.

What I Thought I Knew

When I signed up for this training, I was excited. Mainly because I was leaving our small city, but because I was going to be in a place where people would marvel at how much I knew about tribal sovereignty. If you reread the last two sentences, you will notice that I use the word “I” a lot. Yes, I wanted to learn, but what I really wanted to do was show how smart I was and in some ways thumb down the people who did not know as much as I knew. “I” was wrong. The setup of the training placed me with people I did not know and set us on equal footing. I found myself among a group of white men who all preceded me in age. I would be lying if I did not admit that I was intimidated so I talked about the things I thought they would recognize. I discussed TTAP and our mission to assist tribes. They were not impressed. I talked about Michigan Tech and they perked up, but all I got was that it was a good school. What really caught their attention was when I told them that I was planning a snowmobile safety training.  The conversation went in directions I never expected it to go and I learned just how important safety is by listening to their stories. Eventually we had personal conversations about how to interact with tribes in between sessions. I shared what I knew, but I also acknowledged what I did not know. We asked questions that no one knew the answer to and I think that is when we connected.

The Difference between Presence and Being Present

Presence and being present are two different things. They are both important and they both have different impacts on what you can learn in this type of training. Your presence is appreciated, but being a stale body that does not offer anything to the conversation does nothing for you. Of course, your presence speaks volumes. It shows that you find what you are doing important. Your presence shows your priorities and what you think is important, but it does not help you learn. This is where the difference happens because once your presence is noted you have to do something with it. For example, what would a politician be without their actions? Now I am not a politician, but I believe that the same rules apply. It is not enough to show up, but to really change something you need to be present. Being present allows you to participate in the learning process. It allows you to engage with others and most importantly, it opens up your mind to new possibilities.

New Tools

After sitting through eight sessions over the course of two days, I can confidently say that I have a completely new set of tools to use when I return to my job. I am armed with literature, brochures, and websites to share when asked about cultural significance. I have contacts who can provide advice on how to create positive working relationships with tribes, and most importantly, I have some new colleagues who have great stories about snowmobiling.

Future Steps

Our office is in the beginning phases of planning a similar training for the state of Michigan, with the hopes of expanding it to other states. If you are interested, please email me at rlstrozi@mtu.edu.

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Eastern TTAP Needs Your Help!
We're Looking for Host Sites for Training

The Eastern TTAP is looking for assistance from tribal agencies to host the training sessions listed below. Exact dates are open to the host agency's availability, but rough dates are noted.

Workshop Title


Max Class Size



Project Management




Midwest & East

638 Contracting




Midwest & East




Seeking Host



2 days


Seeking Host

Will Depend on Host


2 days


Seeking Host


Contact Amanda Kerttu at 1--888-230-0688 or via email at alkerttu@mtu.edu if you would like these or other training hosted at your agency.

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2016 National Tribal Transportation Conference - Save the Date
October 3-6, 2016 - Anaheim, California

The 2016 National Tribal Transportation Conference will be held October 3-6, 2016 in Anaheim, California.

Please visit www.ttapnttc.com for more information.

NTTC Save the Date card

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Upcoming Events

Eastern TTAP will be hosting the following events. Additional events of interest or also listed.

Workshop Title


Max Class Size


Tentative Date(s)



3 days



May 10-12
June 14-16

Wis Dells


2 days



May 17-18 (tent)
Seeking Host


e-Construction Webinar April 21, 2016

The FHWA will be hosting an E-Construction for Local and Tribal Agencies webinar on April 21, 2016 from 2:00 - 3:30 EDT.

This webinar will provide an in-depth look at how the Penn DOT and Allegheny County are working together to implement e-construction for local agencies. Participants will learn how to save time and money by modernizing construction document management through the elimination of the cumbersome paper-based approach. They will also learn how to decrease paper use, printing, and document storage costs, as well as how to decrease communication delays and transmittal time.

Click Here for more information.
Click here to register for the webinar.


17th Annual NJ Work Zone Safety Conference
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
This event is free, but registration is required.
Click Here for more information

Visit ttap.mtu.edu or send us an email at ttap@mtu.edu for more information.

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FHWA Clarification on Termination of Clearview Font Interim Approval

On Monday January 25, 2016, FHWA issued a Notice in the Federal Register officially terminating the Interim Approval IA-5 regarding the use of Clearview Font on guide signs that was issued in 2004. The notice discontinued the provisional use of Clearview as an alternative lettering style in traffic control device applications, effective February 25, 2016.

The FHWA received a considerable amount of feedback regarding this notice, and on March 14, 2016, Mark Kehrli, Director of the Office of Transportation Operations, issued a memorandum to provide clarification to the questions and comments that arose regarding the decision.

The February 25, 2016 effective date does not require immediate change to any sign that has been installed, is in the process of being installed or fabricated, or is part of a project currently under construction or design. Existing signs using Clearview may stay in service for the remainder of their serviceable life.

Click Here to view the memorandum issued March 14, 2016.
Click Here to view the original memorandum announcing the termination of the interim approval of the use of Clearview. This also includes the section of the Federal Register that spells out the details.
Click Here to view the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Clearview Font Transition Plan.
Click Here to view the Virginia Department of Transportation's Interim Guidance regarding the FHWA termination of the interim approval of the use of Clearview font.

Other state policies may be available, and they may differ from those linked above based on the extent to which Clearview was implemented and the stage of projects or contracts in progress. Check with your state DOT for state-specific guidance.

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Tribal Transit Program Notice of Funding Opportunity
FY 2016 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program; Tribal Transit Program

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of approximately $5 million in funding provided by the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program (Tribal Transit Program (TTP)), as authorized by 49 U.S.C. 5311(j), as amended by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST), Public Law 114–94 (December 4, 2015).

This notice is a national solicitation for project proposals and includes the selection criteria and program eligibility information for Fiscal Year 2016 projects. FTA may choose to fund the program for more or less than the announcement amount, including applying other funding toward projects proposed in response to this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Complete proposals for the Tribal Transit Program announced in this Notice must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 13, 2016. All proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV APPLY function. Any tribe intending to apply should initiate the process of registering on the GRANTS.GOV site immediately to ensure completion of registration before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s Web site at http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants/15926_3553.html and in the ‘‘FIND’’ module of GRANTS.GOV.


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Road Safety Audit Training Provided for the Mashpee Wampanoag
Request Training or Technical Assistance for Your Agency

Eastern TTAP recently provided Road Safety Audit training to the Mashpee Wampanoag.
Eastern TTAP recently provided Road Safety Audit training to the Mashpee Wampanoag.
Eastern TTAP recently provided Road Safety Audit training for the Mashpee Wampanoag.

Eastern TTAP recently provided Road Safety Audit (RSA) training for the Mashpee Wampanoag in Mashpee, Massachusetts. The three day training brought together representatives from various departments within the Mashpee Wampanoag, the Town of Mashpee, local law enforcement, the Massachusetts LTAP, a local contractor, the Cape Cod Commission, the Massachusetts DOT, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

As part of the training, six locations of concern were investigated, and a summary report with safety improvement recommendations is being completed.

The purpose of this training was to not only provide the tribe with practical information on how to conduct an RSA, select a location, and build an independent, multi-disciplinary team, but to also come away with an RSA report that can be used for future planning and funding opportunities.

This RSA training was one of many that the Eastern TTAP can provide. Click Here to request training sessions for your organization. Eastern TTAP can assist you with road safety plans, road safety audits, and inter-agency safety projects. Please contact us for more information or to schedule these activities.

If you don't see a topic listed or have a suggestion for training that you'd like to have at your tribe, send us a suggestion.

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Pathways is published quarterly by the Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program, which is in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and part of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute at Michigan Technological University. The Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program is part of a nationwide effort jointly financed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). It intends to relay the latest technology and information on tribal roads and bridges, tourism, recreational travel, and related economic development to tribal transportation and planning personnel. Tribes in the Eastern TTAP region include those in the Midwest and Eastern BIA Regions. Contact the TTAP office to submit articles and suggestions.

The Eastern TTAP logo was created by Sally R. Brunk, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Eastern TTAP and Pathways are sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation
under Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH6114H00006.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.
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