Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs: Indian Reservation Roads Program

GAO-04-1026R: Sep 24, 2004

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GAO reviewed the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) new rule on the Indian Reservation Roads Program. GAO found that (1) the rule would expand transportation activities available to tribes and tribal organizations and provides guidance for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining transportation facilities and also establish a funding distribution methodology called the Tribal Transportation Allocation Methodology; and (2) BIA, with the exception of the 60-day delay in the rule's effective date, complied with applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.

Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs: Indian Reservation Roads Program, GAO-04-1026R, September 24, 2004

B-294387

September 24, 2004

The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Chairman
The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
Vice Chairman
Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable Don Young
Chairman
The Honorable James L. Oberstar
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
House of Representatives

Subject: Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs: Indian Reservation Roads Program

Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a major rule promulgated by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), entitled Indian Reservation Roads Program (RIN: 1076-AE17). We received the rule on September 13, 2004. It was published in the Federal Register as a final rule on July 19, 2004. 69 Fed. Reg. 43090.

The final rule establishes policies and procedures governing the Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) Program. The rule expands transportation activities available to tribes and tribal organizations and provides guidance for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining transportation facilities. It also establishes a funding distribution methodology called the Tribal Transportation Allocation Methodology.

The final rule has an announced effective date of October 1, 2004. The Congressional Review Act requires a 60-day delay in the effective date of a major rule from the date of publication in the Federal Register or receipt of the rule by Congress, whichever is later. 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(3)(A). The rule was published in the Federal Register on July 19, 2004. It was received by Congress on September 14, 2004. Therefore, the final rule does not have the required 60-day delay in its effective date.

Enclosed is our assessment of the BIAs compliance with the procedural steps required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule. Our review indicates that, with the exception of the 60-day delay in the rules effective date, the BIA complied with the applicable requirements.

If you have any questions about this report, please contact James W. Vickers, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8210. The official responsible for GAO evaluation work relating to the subject matter of the rule is Robert Robinson, Managing Director, Natural Resources and Environment. Mr. Robinson can be reached at (202) 512-3841.

signed

Kathleen E. Wannisky
Managing Associate General Counsel

Enclosure

cc: David W. Anderson
Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs
Department of the Interior

ENCLOSURE

ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE
ISSUED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
ENTITLED
"INDIAN RESERVATION ROADS PROGRAM"
(RIN: 1076-AE17)

(i) Cost-benefit analysis

The yearly amount of IRR Program funds is approximately275 million.

(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603-605, 607, and 609

The BIA has certified that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1532-1535

The final rule does not contain either an intergovernmental or private sector mandate, as defined in title II, of more than100 million in any one year.

(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq .

The final rule was issued using the notice and comment procedures found at 5 U.S.C. 553. On August 7, 2002, the BIA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register. 67 Fed. Reg. 51327. BIA received responses from 1,586 commenters. A discussion of the comments received is in the preamble to the final rule. In addition, the final rule was the subject of a negotiated rulemaking.

Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520

The final rule contains an information collection, which is subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. OMB has approved the collection and assigned OMB Control No. 1076-0161 with an expiration date of October 31, 2005. The total burden of the collection is estimated to be 31,470 hours.

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