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$4.7 million in grants available

ST. PAUL — Minnesota schools and their partners are invited to apply for Safe Routes to School grant funds for projects to help more children safely walk and bicycle to school. Applications are due Jan 31, and are available at

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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.

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.

To help with grant applications, MnDOT will offer a webinar from 3 to 4 p.m. Jan. 9. Webinar information and sample applications can be found at