Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Research Services

SP&R and Pooled Funds

Orange barrels on a highway

State Planning and Research (SP&R) Funding Requests

For Pooled-Fund or Minnesota-Only Research and Development Studies/Projects:

MnDOT Research Services & Library put into place the following process to request State Planning and Research (SP&R) funds. This process pertains to requesting funds to initiate or participate in a transportation pooled fund project for:

  1. A project where MnDOT will serve as the lead state of a pooled fund
  2. A project in which MnDOT will contribute as a partner state to a pooled fund
  3. A project in which MnDOT will be the sole state (a 20 percent match must be identified to be eligible)   

The MnDOT office requesting pooled fund dollars need to submit a cover memo along with the SP&R Funding Request form, both located below. The submitted memo should be addressed to the Linda Taylor, Director of Research Services & Library, and should come from the director of the requesting office. Both forms should be forwarded to SP&R Administrator Deb Fick.

Please be sure that all questions are completed on the SP&R request form. 

Requests for funding are reviewed on a quarterly basis (March, June, September and December). Decisions for approval are based on funding availability and eligibility for SP&R criteria. Once a decision has been determined on the funding request, the originating office will be notified via e-mail.

To comply with Federal Highway Administration requirements, if a project is approved, the technical liaison assigned to the project will be required to submit quarterly reports and project status updates. If travel is going to be reimbursed by SPR funds, the TL will be required to submit travel expense forms and meeting minutes to the SP&R administrator.

Process for Awarding SP&R Funds

For projects in which MnDOT will serve as the lead state of a pooled fund:

  1. Solicitation is posted on the TPF website by the SP&R administrator.
  2. The project is assigned a solicitation number by the FHWA.
  3. The solicitation is given an expiration date (usually three months from the date the solicitation is posted; however, extensions may be requested if additional time is needed to meet the funding target).
  4. A request to use 100 percent SP&R funds is submitted to the FHWA. (This process may take up to four months or more, depending on whether the project becomes financially viable, i.e. the funding target is met.)
  5. MnDOT’s commitment is made on the TPF website.

Once the project is financially viable, and the FHWA has approved use of 100 percent SP&R funds:

  1. The project is assigned a TPF number and officially becomes a pooled fund project.
  2. The SP&R Administrator sends acceptance letters to participating states, notifying them that we are now ready to accept the funds. (The TL that was identified on the request letter will receive copies of the letters).
  3. Participating states transfer funds to MnDOT.
  4. The TL is notified when all the funds have been received and is given the "notice to proceed." RS&L assigns an project advisor to the project. The project technical advisory panel meets to finalize the scope and select the researcher.

For projects in which MnDOT will contribute as a partner state:

  1. MnDOT’s commitment is made on the TPF website.
  2. If the project has met the funding target and is approved for use of 100 perecnt SP&R funds, the lead state forwards an acceptance letter to the MnDOT SP&R coordinator.
  3. The transfer of funds is made to the lead agency.
  4. The TL will be notified via e-mail when the transfer is processed, at which point MnDOT becomes an official partner in the pooled fund.

For projects in which MnDOT is the sole state:

  1. A 20 percent non-federal match must be identified and verified.
  2. An MPR (Minnesota Planning Research) number is assigned.
  3. Funding is transferred to project.
  4. Notice to proceed is sent to the project TL.

Funding Request Flow Chart (PDF)

Quarterly Reports

To comply with FHWA requirements, the TL assigned to the approved project will be required to submit quarterly reports and project status updates. If necessary, the lead state or the TAP may request that these reports be issued more frequently. Submitting reports in electronic formats is preferred. The reports are posted on at the TPF website. States handle the posting of documents for project for which they are the lead, and the TPF coordinator handles this function for FHWA-led studies.

There are no formal requirements as to what should be included in the quarterly report; however, from a program perspective, we ask that your reports include the following:

  • the project number and title;
  • the project manager’s name and contact information;
  • a detailed description ofthe work performed and future plans;
  • the period of performance; and
  • cost expenditures and projections.

This is usually the type of information the co-sponsors will want. They are the main audience for the quarterly report; however, other states might also be interested in the progress of the study. Quarterly reports area way of addressing accountability (i.e. what are you doing with the money) as well as an opportunity to report progress and to share preliminary results.

An example that can be used for this report is: SPR Quarterly Report Template (.doc)

Reports are due for each calendar quarter (i.e., January–March; April–June; etc.). The quarterly reporting schedule is as follows (periods of performance are in parentheses):

  • Due: April 30 (January - March)
  • Due: July 31 (April - June)
  • Due: October 31 (July - September)
  • Due: January 31 (October - December)

If travel is going to be reimbursed by SPR funds, the TL will be required to submit travel expense forms and meeting minutes to the SP&R administrator.