Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Transit in Minnesota

Section 5311 Rural Transit Program

The Public Transit Participation Program provides financial assistance for public transit services. This grant program supports capital, planning and operations of transit systems in small and large urban areas and in rural areas outside of the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Operators of public transportation services
  • Tribal governments
  • State or local governments
  • Private nonprofit organizations
  • Private operators of public transportation services

Timeline for 2022 Transit Grant Contract Applications (PDF)

Applications due September 15, 2020

Purpose

The 2024 - 2025 Public Transit Facilities and Capital Grant provides financial assistance for public transit services throughout the state of Minnesota. This capital grant program supports public transit facilities and non-vehicle capital greater than $5,000 during a three year period from January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2025.

Application timeline

July 15, 2020 – MnDOT releases application
July 21, 2020 – Solicitation Assistance Webinar
September 15, 2020 – Application due from applicants to MnDOT

Organization eligibility

Eligible applicants include local governments, non-profits (MN Statute 174.24), and Tribal governments. New applicants must have a MnDOT pre-award audit completed prior to application award.
To be eligible, applicants must have a public transit management plan on file in Black Cat. The content of the management plan is based on Minnesota Rules Chapter 8835.0260 and 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. 

Funding

This grant funding opportunity includes both State of Minnesota and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant funding financial assistance administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Office of Transit and Active Transportation. This application represents an opportunity to apply for Formula Grants for Rural Areas (Section 5311) funding, Urbanized Area Program (Section 5307) funding, Bus and Bus Facilities (Section 5339), and State of Minnesota funding as part of the Public Transit Participation Program. Match Requirements

Match requirements

For projects under this solicitation, the match is 20 percent local funds. For Bus-related Equipment and Facilities (such as recharging or refueling facilities, including clean fuel or alternative-fuel vehicle-related equipment), the match is 10 percent local funds.
Eligible sources of local match include the following:

  • cash from non-Government sources other than revenues from providing public transportation services;
  • revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions;​
  • amounts received under a service agreement with a State or local social service agency or private social service organization;
  • revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; or funds from an undistributed cash surplus;
  • replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve.

Eligible projects

  • Capital projects to rehabilitate, purchase, construct, or lease bus-related facilities. 
  • Non-Facility capital projects in excess of $5,000.
  • Technology projects in excess of $5,000.

Scoring criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the quality and extent to which they demonstrate how the proposed project addresses:

  1. Improve customer experience
    There is a clear link between investment and customer experience/level of service and impact would be significant
  2. Improve operational efficiency
    There is a clear link between investment and operational efficiency and impact would be significant
  3. Improve public or employee safety
    There is a clear link between investment and public or employee safety and impact would be significant
  4.  Mitigate environmental impacts
    There is a clear link between investment and environmental mitigation objective and impact would be significant
  5. Extend Useful Life/Improving Condition 
    There is a clear link between investment and the extension of service life.
  6. Project Implementation Strategy
    The Project is ready to implement within a reasonable period of time and the applicant’s proposed implementation plans are reasonable and complete.
  7. Planning and Local/Regional Prioritization
    The proposed project will be consistent with local and regional long-range planning documents and local government priorities; including long-range transportation plans.

Application links

Applications Due August 31, 2020

Purpose

The 2021-2025 Public Transit Replacement Vehicle Grant provides financial assistance for public transit services throughout the state of Minnesota. This capital grant program supports replacement of public transit vehicles during a four year period from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2025.

Application timeline

July 15, 2020 – MnDOT releases application
July 21, 2020 – Solicitation Assistance Webinar
August 31, 2020 – Application due from applicants to MnDOT

Replacement vehicle eligibility

For the 2021-2025 Public Transit Capital Vehicle solicitation application, the eligibility requirements for vehicle replacement consider minimum years or mileage.
Each transit agency is receiving a list of fleet vehicles that indicates which vehicles are eligible for replacement (see attachment). Use this table to mark which vehicles you would like to replace and then submit through BlackCat.

New vehicle eligibility (system mergers only)

Effective 8/5/2020: The vehicle eligibility for the 2021-2025 Public Transit Capital Vehicle solicitation application has been expanded to include the addition of new vehicles for transit systems that have acquired used vehicles from another eligible transit system that need replacement, and new vehicles needed as the result of a recent merger within the last year. Each transit agency that meets this limited criteria will be notified directly by their transit project manager. All other replacement vehicle eligibility requirements remain unchanged, and this does not impact overall funding availability for replacement vehicles.

Funding

This grant funding opportunity includes both State of Minnesota and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant funding financial assistance administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Office of Transit and Active Transportation. This application represents an opportunity to apply for Formula Grants for Rural Areas (Section 5311) funding, Urbanized Area Program (Section 5307) funding, Bus and Bus Facilities (Section 5339), and State of Minnesota funding as part of the Public Transit Participation Program.

Match requirements

For projects under this solicitation, the match is 10 percent local funds.
Eligible sources of local match include the following:

  • cash from non-Government sources other than revenues from providing public transportation services;
  • revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions;​
  • amounts received under a service agreement with a State or local social service agency or private social service organization;
  • revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; or funds from an undistributed cash surplus;
  • replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve.

Scoring criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the quality and extent to which they demonstrate how the proposed project addresses:

Age (weighted 40%)
  • At ceiling life or above = 10 points
  • Age between min and ceiling life = 7 points
  • Age at min life = 5 points
  • Age below min life = 0 points
Class 200/300 Class 400 Class 500 Class 700
5+ years = 10 pts. 7+ years = 10 pts. 9+ years = 10 pts. 15+ years = 10 pts.
4 years = 7 pts. 6 years = 7 pts. 8 years = 7 pts. 13-14 years = 7 pts.
4 years = 7 pts. 5 years = 5 pts. 7 years = 5 pts. 12 years = 5 pts.
Less than 4 years = 0 pts. Less than 5 years = 0 pts. Less than 7 years = 0 pts. Less than 12 years = 0 pts.

Mileage (weighted 40%)
  • At 125% or more of mileage requirement = 10 pts.
  • Between mileage requirement and 125% of mileage requirement = 7 pts. 
  • Between 75% mileage requirement and mileage requirement = 5 pts.
  • Below 75% mileage requirement = 3 pts.
Class 200/300 Class 400 Class 500 Class 700
125,000+ = 10 pts 187,500+ = 10 pts 250,000+ = 10 pts 625,000+ = 10 pts
100,000-124,999 = 7 pts. 150,000-187,499 = 7 pts. 200,000-249,999 = 7 pts. 500,000-624,999 = 7 pts.
75,000-99,999 = 5 pts. 112,500-149,999 = 5 pts. 150,000-199,999 = 5 pts. 375,000-499,999 = 5 pts.
Less than 75,000 - 3 pts. Less than 112,500 - 3 pts. Less than 150,000 - 3 pts. Less than 375,000 - 3 pts.

Maintenance Costs-to-Vehicle Cost Ratio (weighting 20% - only applies to 5311)
  • Maintenance costs at or greater than 75% of total vehicle cost = 10 pts.
  • Maintenance costs between 50 and 75% of total vehicle cost = 5 pts.
  • Maintenance costs between 25 and 50% of total vehicle cost = 3 pts.
  • Maintenance costs below 25% of total vehicle cost = 0 pts.

Application

BlackCat Transit Data Management System

Application instructions, form and scoring criteria for New Service (2020-2021)

Although this solicitation will result in the development of a multi-year program of projects, contracts will continue to be awarded annually.

Local share

Local share for 2020 grants for new service:

  • Vehicles: 20%
  • Facilities: 20%
  • Operations:15% for rural area service and 20% for urbanized area and small urban area service

Timeline

  •  July 15, 2019 – Release of vehicle replacement, facilities and large capital, and new services solicitation.
  • Aug. 30, 2019 – Application period closes for each of the three.
  • Sept. 15, 2019 – MnDOT provides notification of grant award to transit systems.

The MnDOT Office of Transit and Active Transportation has announced the 2020-2021 Public Transit Operating Grant funding opportunities.

The 2020-2021 Public Transit Operating Grant provides financial assistance for public transit services throughout the state of Minnesota. This grant program supports planning and operations of public transit service for a two year period from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021. The statewide budget target for the CY 2020-CY 2021 Greater Minnesota Transit operating grant contracts is $226,000,000 ($39,000,000 Local Share, $187,000,000 State/Federal Share).

Timeline

  • Application Release: June 1, 2019
  • Application Due to Office of Transit: July 15, 2019
  • Notification of Grant Award: Aug. 15, 2019

Applications must be completed and submitted through the Black Cat system by the final due date July 15, 2019.

Transit Project Managers are available to provide guidance and answer any questions for public transit systems in Greater Minnesota.

Webinar

Guidance

The MnDOT Office of Transit and Active Transportation has announced the 2022 Public Transit Operating Grant funding opportunities.

The 2022 Public Transit Operating Grant provides financial assistance for public transit services throughout the state of Minnesota. This grant program supports planning and operations of public transit service for a one-year period from Jan. 1, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2022. The statewide budget target for the CY 2020-CY 2021 Greater Minnesota Transit estimated operating grant contracts is $133,000,000 State/Federal Share).

Timeline

  • Application Release: May 10, 2021
  • Application Due to Office of Transit: June 30, 2021
  • Notification of Grant Award: September 2021

Applications must be completed and submitted through the Black Cat system by the final due date June 30, 2021.

Transit Project Managers are available to provide guidance and answer any questions for public transit systems in Greater Minnesota.

Webinar

Guidance

Applications due Sept. 30, 2021

Purpose

The 2022 - 2026 Public Transit Facilities, Large Capital and Technology Grant provides financial assistance for public transit services throughout the state of Minnesota. This capital grant program supports public transit facilities, non-revenue vehicles and capital projects greater than $5,000 from Jan. 1, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2026.

Application timeline

  • August 13, 2021 – MnDOT releases application
  • August 25, 2021, 1:30-3 p.m. - Solicitation Assistance Webinar
  • September 10, 2021 - Solicitation questions due to OTAT
  • October 8, 2021 – Application due from applicants to MnDOT

Organization eligibility

Eligible applicants include local governments, non-profits (MN Statute 174.24), and Tribal governments. New applicants must have a MnDOT pre-award audit completed prior to application award.

To be eligible, applicants must have a public transit management plan on file in Black Cat. The content of the management plan is based on Minnesota Rules Chapter 8835.0260 and 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. 

Funding

This grant funding opportunity includes both State of Minnesota and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant funding financial assistance administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Office of Transit and Active Transportation. This application represents an opportunity to apply for Formula Grants for Rural Areas (Section 5311) funding, Urbanized Area Program (Section 5307) funding, Bus and Bus Facilities (Section 5339), and State of Minnesota funding as part of the Public Transit Participation Program. Match Requirements

Eligible projects

  • Capital projects to rehabilitate, purchase, or construct, new lease/rent, lease to own transit-related facilities.
  • Non-Facility, large capital projects in excess of $5,000:
    • Examples: replacement of non-revenue service/support vehicles, bus stop improvements, garage equipment, etc.
  • Technology projects in excess of $5,000:
    • Eligible Technology Projects: Base technologies (these are the ground floor of technology needs, such as cameras on buses, routing software for small systems to replace spreadsheets, maintenance software, etc.), previously contracted projects requiring additional resources, near term projects that can be completed within a year, communication upgrades & infrastructure (radios, phone systems, call back systems to riders, call recording system/Realtime equipment, etc.), other technology projects that are up to $100,000.
    • Non-Eligible Technology Projects: Large multi-year projects, large routing software, new fare collection, software driven projects that have a long timeline for delivery or implementation, projects needing research and functional requirements, projects in pilots, trip planners. Having completed a Statewide Technology Plan in the summer of 2021, OTAT will move forward with system level technology assessments prior to making long term investment decisions in these areas.

Scoring criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the quality and extent to which they demonstrate how the proposed project addresses:

  • Improve customer experience (15 points): There is a clear link between investment and customer experience/level of service and impact would be significant
  • Improve operational efficiency (15 points): There is a clear link between investment and operational efficiency and impact would be significant
  • Improve public or employee safety (15 points): There is a clear link between investment and public or employee safety and impact would be significant
  •  Mitigate environmental impacts (15 points): There is a clear link between investment and environmental mitigation objective and impact would be significant
  • Extend Useful Life/Improving Condition (15 points): There is a clear link between investment and the extension of service life.
  • Project Implementation Strategy (20 points): The Project is ready to implement within a reasonable period of time and the applicant’s proposed implementation plans are reasonable and complete.
  • Planning and Local/Regional Prioritization (25 points): The proposed project will be consistent with local and regional long-range planning documents and local government priorities; including long-range transportation plans.

Application links

Applications due October 15, 2021

Purpose

The 2022-2026 Public Transit Replacement Vehicle Grant provides financial assistance for public transit services throughout the state of Minnesota. This capital grant program supports replacement of public transit vehicles during a five-year period from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2026.

Application timeline

  • September 10, 2021 – MnDOT releases application
  • September 22, 2021, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Solicitation Assistance Webinar 5311 Transit Systems
  • September 22, 2021, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - Solicitation Assistance Webinar 5307 Transit Systems
  • October 15, 2021 – Application due from applicants to MnDOT

Replacement vehicle eligibility

For the 2022-2026 Public Transit Capital Vehicle solicitation application, the eligibility requirements for vehicle replacement consider minimum years or mileage.

In Blackcat, each transit agency will find a replacement vehicle list of fleet vehicles that indicates which vehicles are eligible for replacement. Use this table to mark which vehicles you would like to replace and then submit through BlackCat.

Transit Project Managers are available to provide guidance and answer any questions for public transit systems in Greater Minnesota.

Webinar

5311 & 5307 transit systems application webinar will be separate. (Invitations to follow)
  • 5311 Transit Systems: September 22, 2021, 9:30-10:30 a.m. – Solicitation Assistance Webinar
  • 5307 Transit Systems: September 22, 2021, 1:30-2:30 p.m. – Solicitation Assistance Webinar

Guidance