Safe Routes to School grants support area schools
The Region Five Development Commission was one of several agencies that received a total of $4.8 million in federal grants for Safe Routes to School, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Monday. The grants will support Safe Routes to School at 138 schools in 50 communities.
The money awarded to Region Five Development Commission will be used at six schools in Little Falls and Cass Lake.
“These projects will help communities increase opportunities for children to walk and bike to school,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle in a statement.
Schools received grants in two categories:
• Planning — Funding to complete a Safe Routes to School plan to help analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions at K-8 schools. Plans will be completed by the Regional Development Commission or a planning consultant hired by MnDOT.
• Infrastructure — Funding for improving the environment and infrastructure around the schools such as crosswalks and trails.
MnDOT announced the available grants in December 2013. It received 85 applications and funded 60 applications. The total amount requested was $11.3 million.
All Safe Routes to School grants in this solicitation are federal funds. The infrastructure grant includes a 20 percent local match. Each infrastructure grant includes a resolution of support from the local governing body to ensure community support. No local match is required for planning assistance grants.
Since 2005, MnDOT awarded nearly $15.5 million in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding—$13.1 million—was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for non-infrastructure items and activities.
This solicitation used the remaining federal Safe Routes to School funds. Federal funding for the program is now available through the new Transportation Alternatives Program. Safe Routes to School projects occur in all 50 states.