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 9, 2018

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 9, 2018, 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:

  • An overview of the upcoming intercity bus program application submission process.
  • The opening of the solicitation period for federal grants supporting intercity passenger transportation service for calendar year 2018.
  • 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 9, 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 9 through June 25, 2018

The Office of Transit will accept intercity bus grant applications beginning at 4:00 PM Wednesday, May 9, through Friday June 29, 2018. 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 consultation/webinar on May 9, please register by notifying the program coordinator at intercitybus.dot@state.mn.us:

  • 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, Program Coordinator 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 the last 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 2018. The results of that solicitation process produced applications from two providers of Intercity Transportation Service:

  • Jefferson Lines
  • Blue Earth Blue Sky DBA Land To Air

After evaluation of the responses to the solicitation by an advisory panel, a recommendation to funding two applications, from Jefferson Lines and Land to Air Express were adopted by the Office of Transit and Active Transportation in the fall of 2017. The following “Program of Projects” has been developed from these applications, and it provides details as to how these carriers will operate 11 intercity bus routes throughout the State of Minnesota for the 2018 calendar year, as follows:

Intercity Bus Program Project Cost and funding breakdown - 2018 operating program

Jefferson Lines / Six Routes

Operating Cost

Revenue (operating only)

Operating Deficit

Federal share of deficit (%)

Federal share ($)

State share

Statutory Min Local Share 15 %









Land to Air Express / Five Routes

Total Cost

Revenue (operating only)

Operating Deficit

Federal share of deficit (%)

Federal share ($)

State share of deficit (%)

Statutory Min Local Share 15 %








2018 awards now in effect

Grant contracts awarded during last year's solicitation are now in effect through Dec. 31, 2018.

Upcoming solicitation

The annual Intercity Bus Industry Consultation and Workshop will be held on May 9, 2018 in St. Paul. Upon completion of the Consultation, the solicitation will open for calendar year 2018 and applications will be due June 29, 2018.

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