STATEWIDE – Today, the Colorado Transportation Commission approved the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT's) list of 18 Safe Routes to School Projects for 2008. The projects will help communities improve their pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and educate their students about safely walking or biking to school.
In all, CDOT awarded nearly $1.5 million in infrastructure (capital) and non-infrastructure (education) projects as a part of the Safe Routes to School program. Projects were awarded through a competitive process in which any political subdivision of the state (school district, city, county, state and tribal entity) or nonprofit organization can apply.
The applications were then reviewed by a committee of nine people representing bicyclists, pedestrians, educators, law enforcement, parents, metropolitan planning organizations and transportation planning regions. The funding is distributed in proportion to the geographic distribution of the student population throughout the state. In addition, the minimum request for non-infrastructure project is $3,500 and the infrastructure projects must range from $50,000 to $250,000.
This year, CDOT received 11 qualified non-infrastructure applications and 27 qualified infrastructure applications totaling more than $5 million, which exceeded the amount of funding available by a ratio of more than four to one. CDOT was able to fund nine non-infrastructure and nine infrastructure projects across the state (list of projects attached).
Applicants requesting funding for infrastructure projects are also required to include an educational component in their project. At a minimum, grantees are required to collect and report information from a pre- and post-evaluation using the Safe Routes to School Student In-class Tally and Parent Survey.
"This program fosters a safe environment for students to bicycle or walk to school by providing not only education and a safe infrastructure, but encouragement, enforcement and evaluation," said Transportation Commission Chair Doug Aden. "We had extraordinary interest in the program this year and while we are not able to fund all of the projects, we will still make a difference in many communities."
The Safe Routes to School program was established in August 2005 as part of the most recent federal transportation re-authorization legislation, SAFETEA-LU. This program is 100% federally-funded and managed by CDOT.