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MnDOT seeks applicants for Safe Routes to School

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MnDOT seeks applicants for Safe Routes to School
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Minnesota schools and their partners are invited to apply for Safe Routes to School grant funds for projects that will help more children safely walk and bicycle to school. Applications are due Jan 31, 2014, and are available at www.mndot.gov/saferoutes.

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Schools in Minnesota may apply for grants in two categories:

Infrastructure implementation grants – K-12 schools, in partnership with cities or counties, will receive grants to support infrastructure identified in Safe Routes to School planning efforts that improve safety or access for children walking and bicycling to school.

Planning assistance – K-8 schools will receive expert assistance to complete a Safe Routes to School plan, which will analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions.

Planning grants are best for schools just getting started or looking to expand Safe Routes to School programs in their communities.

MnDOT has $4 million available for infrastructure grants and $700,000 available for planning grants for 2015-16.

All grants use federal funds, but a change this year requires a 20 percent local match for the infrastructure implementation application. The planning assistance grants remain at 100 percent funding.

Also different in this year’s eligibility criteria is that high schools can apply for infrastructure funding. Applications for the infrastructure category must be already planned and ready for construction.

All non-profit organizations and government entities in Minnesota may be eligible partners, including tribal nations, schools, school districts, cities, counties and regional planning organizations. Infrastructure grants require a city or county sponsor.

Since 2005, MnDOT has awarded more than $15 million in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes To School. The majority of funding was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for non-infrastructure items and activities, such as Safe Routes to School planning, education, encouragement and enforcement.

In 2012-13, 105 Minnesota schools in 61 communities received funding.

To help schools and their partners complete grant applications, MnDOT will offer a webinar Jan. 9 from 3 to 4 p.m.  Webinar information and sample applications and projects can be found at www.mndot.gov/saferoutes.

More information about the grants and an additional funding opportunity from the Metropolitan Council is located on the MnDOT website. For more information, contact Mao Yang at 651-366-3827 or mao.yang@state.mn.us.

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