Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Transit in Minnesota

Wadena County Transit but

Section 5311f Minnesota Intercity Bus Program

Intercity bus industry consultation and application orientation to be held May 10, 2017

The Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Transit, carries out an annual intercity bus grant program to create opportunities for long-distance travel to and from Minnesota communities.

To facilitate the program, the Office of Transit will conduct an intercity bus industry consultation via Webinar on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, from 1:30 to 4:00 PM. The consultation is an opportunity to learn about intercity bus grant opportunities through the Office of Transit. During the consultation the following topics will be discussed:

  1. An overview of the upcoming intercity bus program application submission process.
  2. The opening of the solicitation period for federal grants supporting intercity passenger transportation service for calendar year 2018.
  3. A discussion of interest in expanding service to new markets via the development of additional ICB feeder networks around the state.

Industry representatives may utilize the webinar as a forum for submitting verbal comments, while written comments will be accepted any time at intercitybus.dot@state.mn.us. Feel free to email a question to us ahead of time for discussion during the webinar. After May 10, the same information will be available upon request (via email) and through Blackcat Grants (for remote download).

The annual industry consultation is an orientation to the Minnesota Intercity bus program that provides specific, technical instruction for potential grantees (known as “subrecipients”) who may be interested in submitting a grant proposal. During the Industry Consultation webinar, Office of Transit staff will assist with preparation and submission of grant applications coterminous with the contract solicitation period opening. The consultation will begin with a general program overview, and shift into the application workshop (a technical seminar) designed to assist potential grantees with application procedures and software navigation issues. Potential grant applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to attend the consultation and the subsequent application orientation.

2018 Intercity bus grant program application to open May 10 through June 25, 2017

The Office of Transit will accept intercity bus grant applications beginning at 4:00 PM Wednesday, May 10, through Sunday June 25, 2017. Eligible entities may apply for operating and capital assistance to support intercity bus service in Minnesota. Once again, marketing activities will continue to be included with capital programming requests. Grant contracts will be in effect from January 1 through December 31, 2018.

To participate in the webinar on May 10, please send a request to intercitybus.dot@state.mn.us as soon as possible to:

  • Obtain an account permitting access to the Blackcat Grants management system. (If you have not utilized Blackcat before, it is the State of Minnesota’s web based grant coordination interface).
  • Register for the webinar (You will receive an invitation back via email with a link to the webinar).
  • If you would like to attend in person, please indicate this when you register, as prior authorization (a guest pass) is required to enter the Transportation building. I will then arrange accordingly.

For further information on the intercity bus program, contact Robert.Clarksen@state.mn.us with any questions.

MnDOT's annual intercity bus grant program creates opportunities for long-distance travel to and from Minnesota communities

Over the course of this summer and fall, the MnDOT Office of Transit conducted an industry consultation, held an application workshop, and solicited for proposals from private transportation providers as well as local and nonprofit transit agencies throughout the State of Minnesota to enter contracts to operate the Intercity Bus Program for calendar year 2017. The results of that solicitation process produced applications from four providers of Intercity Transportation Service:

  • Jefferson Lines
  • Blue Earth Blue Sky DBA Land To Air
  • Carefree Shuttle LLC
  • Tri-Valley Opportunity Council

After evaluation of the responses to the solicitation by an advisory panel, recommendations for funding the applications from Jefferson Lines and Land to Air were carried forward to the Office of Transit Director for adoption on Nov. 10, 2016. From this, a “Program of Projects” was developed from the applications provided funding details for the 11 intercity bus routes to be operated under the contracts for the 2017 calendar year, as follows:

Jefferson Lines - Project cost and funding breakdown

Routes

Operating Cost

Revenue (operating only)

Federal share of deficit (%)

Federal share ($)

In-Kind Match

State share

 "Northwoods"
929-930

 $628,000

$123,000

50%

$252,500

0%

$252,500

"Iron Range"
919-920

$435,000

$34,000

50%

$200,500

0%

$200,500

"Paul Bunyan"
927-928

$701,000

$198,000

50%

$251,500

0%

$251,500

"Big Bluestem" 925-926

$961,000

$313,000

50%

$324,000

0%

$324,000

“Superior Shores” 906-911

$584,000

$192,000

50%

$196,000

0%

$196,000

"River Bluffs"
965-966

$978,000

$163,000

50%

$407,500

0%

$407,500

System Totals

$4,287,000

$1,023,000

50%

$1,632,000

0%

$1,632,000

Land to Air Express - Project cost and funding breakdown

Route

Total Cost

Revenue (operating only)

Federal share of deficit (%)

Federal share ($)

In-Kind Match

State share of deficit (%)

Routes 236-237 (Mankato-Rochester via Hwy. 14)

$170,000

$13,000

50%

$78,500

$0

$78,500

Routes 238-239 (Mankato-Rochester via Hwy. 14)

$170,000

$16,000

50%

$77,000

$0

$77,000

Routes 234-235 (Mankato-Rochester via I-90)

$214,000

$23,000

50%

$95,500

$0

$95,500

New Route 1 (Mankato to Minneapolis via Hwy 169)

$171,000

$44,000

50%

$63,500

$0

$63,500

New Route 2 (Mankato to Minneapolis via Hwy 169)

$171,000

$44,000

50%

$63,500

$0

$63,500

System Totals

$896,000

$140,000

 

$378,000

$0

$378,000

2017 awards now in effect

Grant contracts awarded during last year's solicitation are now in effect through Dec. 31, 2017.

Upcoming solicitations

Industry consultation and workshop May 10, 2017 in St. Paul

The application and solicitation for calendar year 2018 are due June 23, 2017.

Please send a request to intercitybus.dot@state.mn.us for further information about:

  • The future of the Intercity Bus program and upcoming solicitations
  • Potential unmet needs and opportunities for Intercity Service in Greater Minnesota
  • Registration for an account permitting access to the State of Minnesota’s Blackcat Grants management system
  • Technical Assistance with program details or the submission of an application

The Intercity Bus Program is a subsection of Federal regulations that provide funding for transportation in the rural portions of the United States. Further information on the section 5311 Rural Transit program in Minnesota.

About intercity bus service

This program defines “intercity bus” as service that meets all of the following criteria:

  • Regularly scheduled bus service
  • Open to the general public
  • Operates with limited stops over fixed routes
  • Connects two or more communities not in close proximity
  • Has the capacity for transporting baggage carried by passengers
  • Makes meaningful connections with scheduled intercity bus service to more distant points, if such service is available

The MnDOT Office of Transit further specifies that intercity bus service may include local and regional feeder services, if those services are designed expressly to connect to the broader intercity bus network. See program fact sheet (PDF).

July 22