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Transportation Alternatives (TA) Solicitation

Grants to Greater Minnesota Agencies, School Districts,
Schools, and Nonprofits to Improve Transportation Infrastructure

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Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)

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Grants to Minnesota state, local, and tribal government agencies, regional transportation authorities, school districts, schools, and nonprofits for projects to improve transportation infrastructure for communities and schools outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Applicants are required to submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application.

As identified in federal law, Transportation Alternatives funds may be obligated for projects or activities described in 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(29) or 213, as such provisions were in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the FAST Act. Former 23 U.S.C. 213(b)(1):

1. Transportation Alternatives as defined in section 101 [former 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(29)]: 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 nonmotorized 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 nonmotorized transportation users.
  • Construction of turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas.
  • Community improvement activities, which include but are not limited to:
    • i. inventory, control, or removal of outdoor advertising;
    • ii. historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities;
    • iii. vegetation management practices in transportation rights-of-way to improve roadway safety, prevent against invasive species, and provide erosion control; and
    • iv. 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:
    • i. 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
    • ii. 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.

3. The safe routes to school program 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.

4. 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 Transportation Alternatives 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

Additional Eligibility Criteria:


Federal funds for transportation alternative projects are passed through MnDOT to recipients that are adequately staffed and equipped to undertake and satisfactorily complete the requirements associated with federally-funded work. MnDOT determined that state aid cities (i.e. cities with population of over 5,000 persons) and counties are qualified recipients for federal funds. The Transportation Alternatives solicitation requires their participation as a sponsor and/or applicant. If an eligible applicant is not a state aid city or county, then the applicant will need a state aid city or county to be a sponsor on their project.

Project applicants must be an entity eligible to receive the Transportation Alternatives 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, village, borough, parish, 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 Transportation Alternatives 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 Transportation Alternatives 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.

Non-Qualifying Activities:

Pre-Application Information:

2019/20 Solicitation Timeline:

- Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 – Announce Transportation Alternatives solicitation. Open letter of intent period.
- Thursday, October 31st, 2019 – Deadline for applicants to submit letters of intent.
- Friday, November 15th, 2019 – Deadline for RDO/MPO/district review of letters of intent.
Recommendation to proceed forward with full application given to applicants.
- Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Official start of full application period.
- Friday, January 3rd, 2020 – Deadline for applicants to submit full applications.
- Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 – Deadline for ATPs to select TA projects.

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 (See Supporting Documents below).

For all projects, including SRTS projects, funded with Transportation Alternatives funds, the federal share is the same as for the general federal-aid highway program: 80 percent Federal and 20 percent State or local match subject to the sliding scale adjustment. (23 U.S.C. 120)

The Transportation Alternatives solicitation for the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Washington counties) is conducted by the Metropolitan Council and its Transportation Advisory Board. For more information about the Twin Cities solicitation, visit the Met Council website:

Contact Information:

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

Dave Cowan, MnDOT Safe Routes to School Non-Infrastructure Coordinator

Sara Pflaum MnDOT Safe Routes to School Engineering Coordinator

Zue Vue, MnDOT Transportation Alternatives Coordinator

395 John Ireland Blvd
MS 440
St. Paul, MN 55155

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

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

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