B&F passes $12 million road plan – politics?

WHEATFIELDS, Ariz.

After an attempted addendum and a thinly veiled accusation of pork-barreling, the Navajo Nation Council’s Budget and Finance Committee voted unanimously to appropriate $12 million from the Sihasin Fund for road projects over the next three years.

The bill was passed by the Resources and Development Committee last month, and still has to make its way through the Nabik’iyati Committee and the Council to President Russell Begaye’s desk.

Delegate Nelson BeGaye, who sponsored the bill, described it June 5 as a workaround to the failed Transportation Stimulus Plan, which would have taken money from the Permanent Trust Fund for a limited number of road projects in each Council delegate’s territory. Voters failed to pass that legislation by referendum last fall.

BeGaye said he brought the bill to the committee at this time because the committee was meeting in Wheatfields Chapter, BeGaye’s home turf and one of the chapters he represents on the Council.

“This is where this all started,” said BeGaye.

BeGaye said he knew he had to do something about roads on the Navajo Nation after an elderly couple from Black Rock, Arizona, was stranded in Tsaile for a week and a half last winter, unable to get into their house because the road was impassable.

“When the Transportation Stimulus Plan failed, I went to NDOT and asked them what other possible funding sources we could use,” BeGaye said.


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Categories: Politics

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.