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Grants to Minnesota Government Entities, Tribes, Agencies,
School Districts, and Nonprofits for Transportation Initiatives

Transportation Alternatives (TA) Solicitation

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)

LOI Date:

11/01/21

Deadline Date:

01/14/22

Description:

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Grants to Minnesota government entities, Tribal governments, agencies, school districts, LEAs, schools, and other eligible nonprofit organizations for transportation initiatives in eligible regions. Applicants must submit a letter of intent prior to the full application. Projects are considered throughout the state, excluding the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The Transportation Alternatives Solicitation is a competitive grant opportunity for local communities and regional agencies to fund projects for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, historic preservation, Safe Routes to School and more. Minnesota will be soliciting projects for grant funding across the state where the total is sub-targeted to the seven area transportation partnerships.

Qualifying Activities

  1. The term “Transportation Alternatives” means any of the following activities when carried out as part of any program or project authorized or funded under this title, or as an independent program or project related to surface transportation:
    • Construction, planning, and design of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation, including sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle signals, traffic calming techniques, lighting and other safety-related infrastructure, and transportation projects to achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).
    • Construction, planning, and design of infrastructure-related projects and systems that will provide safe routes for non-drivers, including children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities to access daily needs.
    • Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, or other non-motorized transportation users.
    • Construction of turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas.
    • Community improvement activities, which include but are not limited to:
      • Inventory, control, or removal of outdoor advertising;
      • Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities;
      • Vegetation management practices in transportation rights-of-way to improve roadway safety, prevent against invasive species, and provide erosion control;
      • And archaeological activities relating to impacts from implementation of a transportation project eligible under title 23.
    • Any environmental mitigation activity, including pollution prevention and pollution abatement activities and mitigation to:
      • Address stormwater management, control, and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff, including activities described in sections 23 U.S.C. 133(b)(3) [as amended under the FAST Act], 328(a), and 329 of title 23; or
      • Reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats (Former 23 U.S.C. 213(b)(2)-(4)).
  2. The recreational trails program under 23 U.S.C. 206 of title 23. (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/)
  3. The scenic byways program under U.S.C. 162 of title 23. (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/scenic_byways/)
  4. The safe routes to school program (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/safe_routes_to_school/) eligible projects and activities listed at section 1404(f) of the SAFETEA-LU:
    • Infrastructure-related projects.
    • Noninfrastructure-related activities.
    • SRTS coordinator. SAFETEA-LU section 1404(f)(2)(A) lists “managers of safe routes to school programs” as eligible under the noninfrastructure projects.
  5. Planning, designing, or constructing boulevards and other roadways largely in the right-of-way of former Interstate System routes or other divided highways.

There are no location restrictions for TA set-aside infrastructure projects; they are not required to be located along highways.

For SRTS noninfrastructure projects, traffic education and enforcement activities must take place within approximately two miles of a primary or middle school (kindergarten through 8th grade).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 137898

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$6,200,000

Term of Contract:

The TA funding available through this solicitation is for project construction in fiscal year 2025.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Project applicants must be an entity eligible to receive federal TA funding. Eligible applicants are:
1. A local government: Local government entities include any unit of local government below a State government agency, except for an MPO. Examples include city, town, township, or county agencies.
2. A regional transportation authority: Regional transportation authorities are considered the same as the Regional Transportation Planning Organizations defined in the statewide planning section (23 U.S.C. 135(m)).
3. A transit agency: Transit agencies include any agency responsible for public transportation that is eligible for funds as determined by the Federal Transit Administration.
4. A natural resource or public land agency: Natural resource or public land agencies include any Federal, Tribal, State, or local agency responsible for natural resources or public land administration. Examples include:
- State or local park or forest agencies;
- State or local fish and game or wildlife agencies;
- Department of the Interior Land Management Agencies; and
- U.S. Forest Service.
5. A school district, local education agency, or school: School districts, local education agencies, or schools may include any public or nonprofit private school. Projects should benefit the general public and not only a private entity.
6. A tribal government.
7. A nonprofit entity responsible for the administration of local transportation safety programs: Examples include a nonprofit entity responsible for:
- a local program implementing construction, planning, and design of infrastructure-related projects and systems that will provide safe routes for non-drivers, including children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities to access daily needs; and
- a safe routes to school program.
8. Any other local or regional governmental entity with responsibility for, or oversight of, transportation or recreational trails (other than an MPO or a State agency) that the State determines to be eligible, consistent with the goals of this subsection.

State DOTs and MPOs are not eligible entities as defined under 23 U.S.C. 133(h)(4)(B) and therefore are not eligible project sponsors for TA funds. However, State DOTs and MPOs may partner with an eligible entity project sponsor to carry out a project.

Nonprofit organizations are not eligible as direct grant subrecipients for TA funds unless they qualify through one of the eligible entity categories (e.g., where a nonprofit organization is a designated transit agency, school, or an entity responsible for the administration of local transportation safety programs). Nonprofit entities are eligible to partner with any eligible entity on an eligible project, if State or local requirements permit.

Tribal governments need to be federally recognized to be eligible entities for TA funding. If a tribal government is not a federally recognized tribe, the tribe does not possess certain inherent rights of self-government and are not entitled to receive federal benefits, services and protections.

Non-Qualifying Activities:
As identified in federal law, TA funds cannot be used for the following activities because there is no authorization under the Federal-aid Highway Program:
- State or metropolitan planning organization administrative purposes.
- Promotional activities, except as permitted under the SRTS (2 CFR 200.421(e)(3)).
- Routine maintenance and operations, except trail maintenance as permitted under the RTP.
- General recreation and park facilities, playground equipment, sports fields, campgrounds, picnic areas and pavilions, etc.
- MnDOT has elected that the following activities are also considered ineligible for TA funding, even if not prohibited federally.
- Engineering activities
- Purchase of right-of-way

Pre-Application Information:

The submittal period for Letter of Intent applications for the Transportation Alternatives Program ends 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2021.

2021-2022 solicitation timeline
- Thursday, Oct. 1, 2021 – Announce Transportation Alternatives solicitation. Open letter of intent period.
- Monday, Nov. 1, 2021 – Deadline for applicants to submit letters of intent.
- Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 – Deadline for applicants to submit full applications.
- Friday, April 15, 2022 – Deadline for ATPs to select TA projects. Grant recipients announced.

Greater Minnesota applicants must submit a letter of intent describing the key components of their project. A regional representative will contact applicants to help review the project proposal and the steps necessary for delivering a federally funded project prior to local communities and regional agencies submitting a full grant application. Full grant applications are available through the regional representatives.

Transportation Alternatives: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/transportationalternativesfs.cfm

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Letter of Intent Form: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/ta/letter-of-intent-form.html

See the Regional Representatives document in Supporting Documents below for Regional Development Organization Contact Information; Metropolitan Planning Organization Contact Information; Area Transportation Partnership Contact Information; and Other Key Contacts.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota: Statewide, excluding the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area

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