The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and seven Class I freight railroads created the Cultural Resource Fund (CRF) to address issues relating to Positive Train Control (PTC) poles erected prior to May 2013. The US Congress mandated railroads to erect the PTC poles along railroad tracks to prevent catastrophic railroad accidents by December 31, 2015 (since extended by Congress to December 31, 2018). Because the railroads did not undergo legally required environmental and historic preservation review before erecting the poles, the railroads agreed to provide $10 million in grants directly to Tribes and Tribal Nations and State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs). The FCC issued a Public Notice on March 18, 2015, identifying the Tribes, Tribal Nations, and SHPOs eligible to receive CRF grants. That list is provided here in the FCC Public Notice.
The MICA Group applied and was selected to administer the CRF. MICA’s application included a proposed Advisory Board of six national leaders in Indian Country and one State Historic Preservation expert to guide the initiative.
The Cultural Resource Fund supports Tribal and State cultural and historic preservation projects. In recognition of Tribal sovereignty, the Cultural Resource Fund Advisory Board utilizes a broad definition of “Cultural Projects” that qualify for funding under the CRF.