Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Northwest Minnesota Regional Information

MnDOT District 2

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Northwest Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership

What is the ATP?

Area Transportation Partnerships (ATPs) were created by MnDOT in the early 1990’s to emphasize greater public involvement, enhance regional planning and increase cooperation development of Minnesota’s State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). There are eight ATPs throughout Minnesota.

Each year, the Northwest Minnesota ATP develops an Area Transportation Improvement Program (ATIP). The ATIP lists the state, regional and local transportation priorities for most of the area encompassed by MnDOT District 2. The regional priorities listed in the ATIP are then recommended for inclusion in Minnesota’s STIP.

Voting Members (11)
MnDOT District 2 2
Region 1 NW Regional Development Commission 2
Region 2 Headwaters Regional Development Commission 2
Grand Forks / EGF Metro Planning Org 1
Rep for cities over 5,000 population 1
Rep for counties 1
Tribal Representative 1
Rural Transit 1
Non-Voting Members (5)
MnDOT District 2 Staff 2
HRDC Staff 1
NWRDC Staff 1
Grand Forks / EGF MPO 1

When developing the program, the Northwest Minnesota ATP considers the transportation priorities of the area's Region 1 Northwest Regional Development Commission, Region 2 Headwaters Regional Development Commission, Grand Forks / East Grand Forks Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the MnDOT District 2 Office.

Who is represented?

ATP 2 membership consists of 11 voting and 5 non-voting members comprised of individuals representing counties, cities, regional planning agencies, tribal nations, transit, MnDOT, and other transportation interests.

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What is the STIP?

The Statewide Improvement Program (STIP) is a comprehensive four-year schedule of state and local transportation projects eligible for federal highway and transit funding. The STIP must list all transportation projects that seek federal funding under Title 23 (highway) of the U.S. Code and Title 49 (transit) under the U.S. Code and all regionally significant projects requiring action by the federal transportation authorities. 

MnDOT updates the STIP annually. MnDOT also prepares guidance to assist each region’s ATP members when producing its annual Draft ATIP.

Projects eligible for federal funding


New alignment, expansion, reconstruction, reclamation, recondition, and resurfacing


Replacement and rehabilitation

Flasher signSafety

improvements designed to reduce the number and severity of crashes

BikingTransportation Alternatives

bike trails/paths, sidewalks, pedestrian facilities, scenic byway corridor enhancements, safe routes to school improvements, etc. 

BusTransit capital

Replacement and refurbishment of public transit buses  

The Northwest Minnesota ATP has an Operations and Policy Manual to guide its governance and operations, including the development and management of its ATIP.

State agencies; state aid eligible counties and cities with a population greater than 5,000; and tribal governments may apply directly for federal funding. Cities under 5,000 population, townships, and quasi-government/non-profit agencies may be eligible for some federal programs but will require sponsorship of their application and project by a qualifying state aid county or city. 

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How are improvements categorized?

MnDOT has established several investment programs for the ATPs and MnDOT District Offices to help support statewide planning goals and objectives. The individual programs are tailored to attain declared national and state transportation system performance targets, while ensuring sufficient investment in local transportation needs.

Each investment program has its own unique focus and set of criteria. Generally speaking, programs intended to invest in local road systems are administered by the ATPs while programs that are intended for improvements on the State trunk highway system are administered by MnDOT.

Primary investment program categories used to develop the Draft ATIP

Program Source Applicant System eligibility

Statewide Performance Program

Federal National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and State Trunk Highway matching funds Federal National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and State Trunk Highway matching funds

MnDOT District Offices


Distribution - Performance based

Principal Arterial roadways



District Risk Management Program


Federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) and State Trunk Highway funds

MnDOT District Offices


Distribution - System needs, size and use formula

Principal and Non-Principal Arterial roadways


ATP Managed Program

Federal STP Funds

City, county, and tribal governments and public transit providers

Any Federal aid eligible route or public transit system

Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)

Federal TAP funds

City, county, and tribal governments and select non-profits

Transportation enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Scenic Byways

Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)

Federal HSIP funds

MnDOT District Offices and City, County, and Tribal governments

Any Federal Aid eligible route

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How does the investment process work?

The ATP works with the area’s Counties, Cities and regional planning partners when developing the Draft ATIP’s locally-sponsored projects, and with MnDOT District 2 when developing projects for the trunk highway system.

The Grand Forks / East Grand Forks Metropolitan Planning Organization is responsible for solicitation, review, and selection of projects located within the MPO area. Regional planning partners, including Region 1 Northwest Regional Development Commission and Region 2 Headwaters Regional Development Commission, provide technical assistance to applicants seeking federal TAP funding, and assist the ATP when scoring projects and ranking project applications.

Developing the Trunk Highway system project list for the Northwest Minnesota Draft ATIP is closely linked to the annual development of MnDOT District 2’s 10-year Capital Highway Investment Plan (CHIP).

Projects in years 1-4 of District 2’s CHIP are considered to be “committed” and are recommended for funding and inclusion in the ATIP. Projects in years 5-10 of District 2’s CHIP have more uncertainty and are considered “planned.”

The Northwest Minnesota Draft ATIP begins to take form after the local transportation priorities of the regions within District 2 are merged and integrated with MnDOT District 2’s recommended priorities. The ATP then takes action to approve the Draft ATIP and forwards the project recommendations to MnDOT District 2’s District Engineer. The District Engineer then reviews the document and submits it, along with any changes or comments, to MnDOT Central Office in St. Paul.

MnDOT Central Office then integrates the Northwest Minnesota ATP’s Draft ATIP with the seven other regional ATP’s Draft ATIPs to produce the draft Minnesota STIP. After it is finalized, the MnDOT Commissioner forwards the Minnesota Draft STIP to the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration for formal approval.

Schedule of activities

  • September- January: Solicit projects
  • Feb- April: Develop Draft ATIP
  • May: Public Review and Comment
  • June: Submit Final ATIP to MnDOT Central Office
  • July- August: STIP Approval by Commissioner
  • September – October: STIP Approval by Federal Transportation Authorities

ATP meetings and past minutes

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