Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Safe Routes to School

Grants

SRTS grant eligibility changes

This Spring, the Minnesota state legislature made changes to the eligibility requirements (DOCX 62KB) for Safe Routes to School grants using state funds. Please read this information if you plan to apply for future SRTS grant solicitations. Communities may wish to begin preparing now to ensure they meet the eligibility requirements if they plan to apply for grants this fall or in future funding years. It applies to all future state SRTS grants but not federal SRTS grants. (The infrastructure grant this Fall uses federal funds.)

2016-2017 Grant Funding Opportunities—updated June 2015

The following information outlines the federal and state funding available to the SRTS program for grants and statewide programs for the next two years. The state fiscal year begins July 1, 2016 which means $1 million in non-infrastructure SRTS funds is available to the program for 2016-2017. The schedule, programs, and grant funding levels were developed by MnDOT under advisory from the SRTS Steering Committee. This information is preliminary and may change throughout the next two years. Applications and solicitation details will be available in the fall. Sign up for our MnDOT SRTS email list for updates.

Types of Funding

  • Federal funds: Safe Routes to School federal funding was distributed to every state from 2005-2012. In 2012, the federal Safe Routes to School program was replaced with the Transportation Alternatives Program, a program which SRTS projects are eligible to apply for. More info on TAP and future Minnesota TAP solicitations. Additional federal funds were designated for Safe Routes to School by MnDOT leadership to transition between the original program and the changing funding sources. These federal funds require a 20% match.
  • State funds: In 2012, the Minnesota State Legislature created a state Safe Routes to School program modeled after the federal program. In 2013, the state invested $250,000/year in non-infrastructure programs from the general fund. In 2014, the state increased this to $500,000/year and also provided a $1 million one-time investment of infrastructure funding.

2016-2017 Grants and Programs

Note: The programs and grants below are funded through the state non-infrastructure program and SRTS transition funds designated for SRTS by MnDOT. They are subject to change as funding changes occur each year. Visit the MnDOT website or the future SRTS Resource Center (coming July 2015) for additional funding sources and information.

  • Walk! Bike! Fun! bicycle and pedestrian safety curriculum: In 2013, MnDOT contracted with Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota to develop a Minnesota specific safety curriculum for youth that meets state standards. BikeMn trains teachers and school-related staff and provide technical assistance to schools and communities.
  • Minnesota Resource Center: Coming soon! Beginning July, visit www.mnsaferoutestoschool.org to find resources to start a SRTS program, find additional funding sources, share success stories, access a toolkit of SRTS materials to use at your school, and more.
  • Program Administration: MnDOT staff time, as well as funding for trainings and support of the resource center
  • Planning Assistance Grants: Grants to schools and communities to develop SRTS travel plans. Plans are completed by regional development organizations or a statewide SRTS consultant. Since 2006 MnDOT has funded more than 200 schools.
  • Bicycle Fleets and Mini-grants: The next solicitation combines two 2014-2015 solicitations into one program. Communities can apply for small grants to start or expand SRTS school programs (crossing guards, bike trains, Walk to School Day) or they can apply for bicycle fleets and supplies to teach Walk! Bike! Fun!.
  • Infrastructure Grants: Grants to communities to construct infrastructure to improve access and safety around schools. Past grants have included sidewalks to schools, trails along state highways, and improved crossings on school walking routes. A SRTS plan is required to apply.

Solicitation Schedule/Timeline

Statewide Programs Spending

 Grant

2015-2016

2016-2017

Totals

Walk! Bike! Fun! Curriculum Support

$200,000

$150,000

$350,000

Minnesota Resource Center

$100,000

 

$100,000

Program Administration

 

$100,000

$100,000

Totals

$300,000

$250,000

$550,000

Funding for Grants

  Grant

2015-2016

2016-2017

Totals

Planning Assistance

$350,000

 

$350,000

Bicycle Fleets & Mini-grants

 

$100,000

$100,000

Infrastructure

$1.7 million

unknown

$1.7 million

Totals

$2.05 million

$100,000

$2.15 million

Timeline
Grant

Solicitation Opens

Expected Timeline

Additional Info

Planning Assistance

October 2015

Applications October- January.

Plans completed winter 2016 through 6/30/2017

Bicycle Fleets & Mini-grants

Winter 2016

Applications due winter 2016, purchases fall 2016

 

Infrastructure

October 2015

Check MnDOT SRTS website for details

SRTS funding will be for 2017

Solicitations and spending subject to change based on guidance from the 30-member Minnesota Safe Routes to School Steering Committee. Dependent on funding, we expect a similar schedule to continue into the 2018-2019 biennium as well.

2015 awarded grants

Mini-grants and bike fleet recipients announced

Congratulations to our 2015 grant recipients! MnDOT received 85 applications requesting approximately $538,000 in state safe routes to school funds.

Infrastructure award recipients announced

Congratulations to our 2015 recipients of the Safe Routes to School infrastructure grants. Twenty-two communities applied and four were awarded funds to implement their projects.

  • Grand Rapids, Itasca County - $261,000 for sidewalk improvements for Robert J. Elkington Middle School and Murphy Elementary School.
  • Mankato, Blue Earth County - $319,000 for sidewalk and crossing improvements for Roosevelt Elementary School.
  • Minneapolis, Hennepin County - $235,000 for crossing improvements for Lyndale Elementary School.
  • Thief River Falls, Pennington County - $185,000 for multi-use trail improvements and traffic calming improvements that reduce speeds for Franklin Middle School and Challenger Elementary School.

See official news release.

About the solicitations

In 2013, the state legislature allocated $250,000 per year for Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure programs. In 2014, the state legislature invested 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.
On October 8, 2014, International Walk to School Day, MnDOT SRTS program announced three 2015 solicitations using the new funding source:

  • SRTS Infrastructure Solicitation: MnDOT has $1 million in state funds for infrastructure grants that will be constructed in 2015 or 2016.
  • School Mini-Grant Solicitation Pilot Program: MnDOT will award mini-grants up to $2,500/school for items to support school or community SRTS activities. Examples include: crossing guard supplies, bike maintenance equipment, walk and bike to school day events and incentives for walking and biking.
  • Bicycle Fleets and Trailers: Working with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, MnDOT will award four communities a bicycle fleet and trailer to implement the Walk! Bike! Fun! bicycle and pedestrian safety curriculum in schools.
  • SRTS projects will also continue to be eligible for federal funding through the regional Transportation Alternatives Program solicitations. Applications were due January 2015.

History

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.