Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Safe Routes to School

Fall 2014 Grant Updates

November solicitation updates

November 17th Solicitation Webinar
On November 17th, MnDOT hosted a webinar to go over solicitation requirements and answer questions. The slides can be found here:

The FAQ handout was also updated with questions asked during the webinar.

Solicitation FAQ handout
Three Safe Routes to School solicitations using new state funds opened on October 8th, 2014 (Walk to School Day). We have been tracking questions we’re receiving (updated 11/21/2014) and have posted this information online:

Also check out the SRTS planning and evaluation page for more info about SRTS plans, evaluation and how to apply for funding without a completed SRTS plan.

New State Funding for Safe Routes to School

In 2013, the state legislature allocated $250,000 per year for Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure programs. In 2014, the state legislature added an additional $1 million in 2014 (one-time) to the SRTS infrastructure grant program and increased the non-infrastructure funds to $500,000 per year.

In 2014, MnDOT SRTS program will announce three 2015 solicitations using the new funding source, as well as begin multiple new statewide projects.

Three new SRTS solicitations are now accepting applications

SRTS Infrastructure Solicitation: MnDOT has $1 million in state funds for infrastructure grants that will need to be constructed in 2015 or 2016.

School Mini-Grant Solicitation Pilot Program: MnDOT will give out mini-grants up to $2,500 for items to support your school or community SRTS activities. Examples include: crossing guard supplies, bike maintenance equipment and incentives for walking and biking. Link to new page here

Bicycle Fleets and Trailers: Working with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, MnDOT will announce a solicitation for communities interested in applying for a bicycle fleet and trailer to implement the Walk! Bike! Fun! Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety curriculum in schools. Link to new page here.

Transportation Alternatives Program

SRTS projects will also continue to be eligible for federal funding through the regional Transportation Alternatives Program solicitations. Applicants apply through their local Area Transportation Partnerships or the Metropolitan Council. Future solicitation info will be available this fall.

Safe Routes to School History

Grants overview

In 2013, MnDOT awarded $4.3 million to local SRTS projects in more than 60 communities. 13 infrastructure projects, 9 implementation grants, and 37 schools are currently working on planning using this funding to plan or implement SRTS programs. These grants went to 80 schools statewide with a combined student population of more than 60,000 students.

The $18.5 million in federal SRTS funds designated for Minnesota from 2006-2012 have been spent on the following programs:

SRTS infrastructure

  • Infrastructure grants in Minnesota have gone to support local SRTS infrastructure projects to improve safety and access around schools. Examples include: traffic calming measures, multi-use trails, sidewalks, and other safety improvements
  • Of the $18.5 million in SRTS federal funds Minnesota received from 2006-2012, 80 percent of funds have gone to infrastructure projects
  • Federal Funds Spent: $3.6 million in 2011, $3.5 million in 2013, $4 million announced in 2014

SRTS travel plans

  • SRTS plans involve creating a SRTS team, collecting existing conditions around schools, and developing an action plan for infrastructure and implementation of SRTS activities
  • Due to the increased benefits seen from planning, MnDOT is moving towards requiring SRTS planning efforts for infrastructure
  • 70 percent of 2013 implementation grants awarded had completed SRTS planning
  • MnDOT has funded planning in more than 130 schools around the state since 2006
  • 109 new school plans funded since 2012
  • Federal Funds Spent: $721,000 in 2012, $365,000 in 2013, $700,000 announced in 2014 (awards in April), *2006-2011 planning was not tracked separately

SRTS implementation

  • Non-infrastructure implementation grants provide funding for school and community programs related to SRTS
  • This has included purchasing bike fleets, hiring regional coordinators to organize activities, providing incentives for events, and implementing walking schools buses and crossing guard programs
  • MnDOT no longer has funding remaining for this type of grant but Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program has SRTS initiatives all across the state
  • Federal Funds Spent: $168,000 in 2012, $525,000 in 2013

Statewide programs

In addition to the grants listed above, MnDOT also contracted with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, and Community Design Group to develop the Safe Routes to School Curriculum, provide regional trainings, and offer local technical assistance to schools and communities. Watch for more statewide programs in 2014!

Previous 2014 grants information

Planning assistance grants for 2014-2015 school year

Applications were due on Jan. 31, 2014. Awards will be announced in April. We're looking forward to sharing the news! Check out planning assistance grants details.

2015-2016 statewide infrastructure grants

Applications were due Jan. 31, 2014. This solicitation resembles the 2013 solicitation for Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects. Projects that are fully developed and able to be delivered quickly are encouraged to apply directly to MnDOT’s Safe Routes to School program for funding. A 20 percent match is now required, construction and engineering both eligible activities, minimum project cost is $100,000.

2017-18 grants

Metropolitan Council Transportation Alternatives Program

Due to federal funding changes, the Metropolitan Council will be holding a separate solicitation for TAP projects including SRTS projects. Applicants in the MnDOT Metro area can apply for this funding or the statewide Safe Routes to School 2015-2016 solicitation. Solicitation information is available from the Metropolitan Council.

Greater Minnesota Transportation Alternatives Program grant

The application deadline for this grant has passed. A Letter of Intent from those interested was due Nov. 15, 2013. Applicants who submitted a Letter of Intent will be hearing from their local Area Transportation Partnerships regarding the next step in the application process. Applications and deadlines vary by ATP. Applicants who have submitted a Letter of Intent for this 2017-2018 solicitation, are welcome to apply for the 2015-2016 if projects are advanced enough and funding the local match sooner is possible.

The Transportation Alternatives Program is a new competitive grant opportunity for local communities and regional agencies to fund projects for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, historic preservation, Safe Routes to School and more. Minnesota will be soliciting approximately $13 million across the state.

SRTS projects compete with other infrastructure projects for funding using the criteria established by each ATP; a 20 percent match is required, engineering is not an eligible expense.

Non-Infrastructure implementation funding

Minnesota Safe Routes to School Program

In 2013, the Minnesota legislature funded the MN SRTS program with $500K for the biennium to be used for non-infrastructure projects. The MnDOT SRTS Steering Committee is working to advise MnDOT on how to manage the funds and to develop statewide programs and resources to support SRTS.

Minnesota Department of Health, Statewide Health Improvement Program

SRTS is an eligible activity under MDH-SHIP. County Health Boards who identified Active School Day and Active Living strategies in their programs can work with local public health to implement non-infrastructure SRTS programs. Visit MDH website for details.