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Caltrans awards local tribe $106,690 grant

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CORNING, Calif. - The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians in Corning was one of two tribes chosen to receive a $106,690 grant from Caltrans. 

It's the first adaptation planning grant funded through the Road Repair and Accountability Act, or SB-1, of 2014.

Of the 30 applications, Caltrans chose 21 projects throughout California to award this grant. Of those 21, only two were tribes and the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians said this is big because it's only the second grant they've ever received.

Imagine having the option to ride a light rail from Redding to Sacramento, or even an all electric bus to and from work? This is a new way of transportation the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians want to explore.

"Bicycle trails, pedestrian access, better public transportation, not so reliant on a single driver or a single gas powered vehicle," said Tad Williams, grant writer for the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians.

The goal is to take measures now that will reduce the carbon footprint for the future. 

"We don't want to pass the burden of climate change onto our future generations," said Williams. "So we have to make these decisions now, so that future generations aren't in a situation where [they're asking,] 'why didn't my grandparents do something back then?"

The tribe has a plan and now, thanks to Caltrans, they have $106,690 to assess the best way to reduce those transportation related greenhouse gases.

"There's probably things we're not thinking about, but that's the whole purpose of the assessment is to work with the community, the state, and the consultants who hopefully have the expertise to help us come up with ideas that we haven't even thought of yet," Williams said.

For the tribe, this opportunity is significant. They said this issue is something they really care about and of the 109 tribes in all of California, they feel fortunate to have been chosen to make a difference.

"To be two out of 109, it's very exciting for us," said Williams.

It's also serving as a way to strengthen the once strained relationship between the tribe and it's surrounding city, county and state.

"It's good to foster the working relationship between the tribe and our surrounding community, definitely," Williams added.

In total, SB-1 will provide more than $270 million in planning grants just like this one for local communities over the next decade. This is just the first step, next will be securing the funding to put these ideas into action.

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