Minnesota Advocates Wins State Safe Routes Program
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) recently wrapped up an Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grant to win state funding for Safe Routes to School in the 2012 capital investment / bonding bill. No dollars were appropriated, but at a result of BikeMN’s advocacy, Minnesota Legislature included the creation of a state level Safe Routes to School program within the MN Department of Transportation (MnDOT). This authorization includes all schools – even high schools, which are typically excluded from funding eligibility.
Although not funded in the 2012 bonding bill, a SRTS request is on route to be included in the Governor’s budget proposal and with the structure of a state Safe Routes to School program in place, BikeMN proposes millions of dollars for infrastructure and non-infrastructure grants in 2013.
Lessons Learned? Advocates in Minnesota learned that this is a very bipartisan issue – especially when you include both public and private schools and all grade levels. BikeMN was able to bring together powerful partners, which led to resolutions of support from almost 40 communities across the state. Working closely with the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society increased their standing with the MN Legislature and increase visibility of the issue. BikeMN learned that safety needs to be the primary message, and they used health as a secondary argument.
Minnesota shares an example of a state Safe Routes to School program at a time when the new federal transportation bill, MAP-21, changes the SRTS funding landscape. Watch the webinar, “Navigating MAP-21: the Safe Routes to School Edition” for more information on what the new bill means for SRTS and its opportunities to fund your projects.
Funded Rapid Response campaigns included Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin’s successful campaign to restore $2 million of the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Program, the BTA’s bike sharing success in Portland, and bridge accommodations campaigns in Minnesota and New York.
Thanks to the support of SRAM Cycling Fund, Advocacy Advance has $21,000 remaining to fund organizations met with urgent and unexpected opportunities to win, increase, or preserve funding for biking and walking. There is no application deadline for these rolling grants and accepted proposals will be funded within one month. Visit our grants website or email us for more information on our grant program.