The Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority (NECA) is organized as an enterprise of the Navajo Nation. NECA is authorized to engage in business transactions in the general engineering and heavy construction industry. The purpose of NECA is to provide employment and professional development opportunities while promoting the enhancement of the economic environment of the People of the Navajo Nation. NECA’s authorities are described by the Plan of Operation found in Navajo Nation Council Resolution CJN56-72 and its recent amendment Navajo Nation Council Resolution CJY-33-08. The NECA Plan of Operation Code at 5 N.N.C. § 1971, et seq.
NECA is registered and certified to conduct business on and outside the Navajo Nation. Pursuant to N.N.C. § 1972 (B)(12), NECA has the authority to contract for funds from whatever source without prior or subsequent approval of the Navajo Nation. NECA contracts for highway construction project funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), U.S. Department of the Interior, in accordance with P.L. 93-638. Construction project funds for water and sewer lines are provided by the Indian Health Service (IHS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, pursuant to P.L. 96-121. NECA is certified as a Priority 1 business for purposes of the Navajo Business Opportunity Act.
NECA operates primarily within the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has a population dispersed over a vast land area in northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southern Utah. The Navajo covers over 27,000 square miles, an area larger than 10 of the 50 states of America. The total population of the Navajo Nation as reported by the 2000 U.S. Census is just below 300,000, with 180,000 living within the Navajo Nation boundaries. The Navajo Nation has over 10,000 miles of roadway comprised of 62 percent (6,200 miles) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) routes, 18 percent (1,800 miles) county roads, and 17 percent (1,700 miles) state routes. Nationally, approximately 29,000 miles fall under the jurisdiction of BIA and Indian Nations. An additional 73,000 miles are under State jurisdiction pursuant to right of way agreements. These numbers show the magnitude of road miles and inventory on the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Nation local units of government (Chapters) play a role in the development of transportation improvements. The Chapters initiate a web of coordination between the Navajo Nation Department of Transportation (NDOT), the Bureau of Indian Affairs Department of Transportation (BIA-DOT), the appropriate local/agency governmental agencies, and the standing committees of the Navajo Nation Council by communicating their transportation needs. This process drives the highway construction project from the planning stage to the completed state-of-the-art highway. The BIA-DOT administers road construction and maintenance programs pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The MOA outlines the BIA-DOT’s responsibility for plantrate on these customers and other customers who provide similar returns. There is opportunity for NECA to take on highway repairs and maintenance projects funded by various sources including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and the Navajo Nation Fuel Excise Tax. The State Department of Transportation also provides highway construction opportunities; however, NECA will continue its practice of being very selective in choosing its projects. This makes for a very attractive market for NECA as a contractor.
The building and maintenance of Navajo Nation roads are complex given the designation of roads as reservation, state or federal road. As previously mentioned, the Navajo Nation has over 10,000 miles of existing roadway and an additional inventory of 10,000 miles of planned roadway.