Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Transit in Minnesota

Wadena County Transit but

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

The MnDOT Office of Transit and Active Transportation has extended the due date to Thursday, October 22, 2020 for the special solicitation for Chisago & Isanti County public transit funding opportunity.

It is estimated that approximately $2,670,000 will be required to operate public transit in Chisago and Isanti Counties for this period, based on the most recently negotiated operating contract. The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Office of Transit and Active Transportation appreciates the risk of uncertainty associated with this special solicitation and is committed to work with the successful applicant to address any unanticipated costs throughout the term of this operating contract.

The purpose of this special solicitation is to seek eligible applicants to operate public transit service in Chisago & Isanti Counties beginning no later than January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. Based on the most recently negotiated operating contract, it is estimated that approximately $2,670,000 will be required to operate public transit in Chisago and Isanti Counties for this period. All transit related assets (fleet, facilities) currently held by Isanti County/Heartland Express will be transferred to the successful applicant prior to the assumption of operations.  This solicitation is requesting applicants to assume public transit operations as soon as practicable, or no later than January 1, 2021.

Updated Timeline

  • August 25, 2020 – MnDOT released application
  • August 31 - September 15, 2020 – MnDOT Published Answers to Solicitation Questions
  • October 22, 2020 – Application due from applicants to MnDOT
  • October 29, 2020 – MnDOT provides notification of grant award to transit systems.

Applications must be completed and submitted through the Black Cat system by the extended due date October 19, 2020. The application is entitled “Public Transit Special Exception Application”.

Questions about this solicitation should be sent by email to Michael Johnson michael.allan.johnson@state.mn.us by September 4, 2020.

Answers to solicitation questions will be published on the MnDOT website by September 15, 2020.

Guidance

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 link

BlackCat Transit Data Management System

See the documents linked below for 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

2020 Solicitation Summary Report

The report below provides an overview of the decision making process for the Office of Transit and Active Transportation. It increases the transparency of the decision-making process, particularly by providing information to enable comparisons between projects that are selected and those that are not. This report is intended to document the 2020 solicitation process and summarize the results. It does not include any analysis of the solicitation processes or recommendation for changes/improvements to said processes.