By Mary Gute, Sr Transportation Planner, WSB
The Metropolitan Council’s 2022 Regional Solicitation process is now open. Please review the information below if you are considering submitting a project application or are wondering if a project is a good fit for the program.
- Due Date: April 14, 2022
- Funding available in three main categories: roadways; bicycle and pedestrian Facilities1; and transit/travel demand management (TDM)2
- Projects can only be submitted in one category
- See the Metropolitan Council website for more information: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation/Planning-2/Transportation-Funding/Regional-Solicitation.aspx
How much funding is available? Does this include new federal infrastructure funding?
The Metropolitan Council initially identified $180 million for the 2022 solicitation. With the new federal infrastructure bill, the Council anticipates an additional $10-$20 million will be available. It is likely that federal funding will augment the available Regional Solicitation funding in future years, but not confirmed.
What can funding be used for?
- Up to 80% of construction costs; a 20% local match is required
- Construction only; Funds CANNOT be used for studies, preliminary engineering/design, construction engineering, or right of way
- Projects that are to be constructed in 2026 or 2027; applicants will be asked if their project(s) could be programmed earlier
What Makes for a Good Project?
Successful projects must meet all qualifying criteria. Projects meeting several prioritizing criteria and demonstrating a high level of project readiness will score higher.
|Qualifying Criteria – Required||Prioritizing Criteria||Project Readiness|
|• Consistency with regional plans |
• Inclusion in local plan or program
• ADA compliance – ADA Transition Plan
• Accessible/open to the public
• Permanent improvement independent utility
|• Role in regional transportation system & economy |
• Project usage
• Equity and housing elements
• Infrastructure age
• Congestion reduction/air quality
• Multimodal Elements/ Connections
• Risk Assessment
• Cost Effectiveness
| • Public process with residents, interested stakeholders|
• Project layout
• Review of Section 106 Historic Resources
• Right of way acquisition process, if applicable, or knowing no additional right of way is needed
• Railroad right of way agreement, if applicable
What is the likelihood of a project receiving funding?
This program is highly competitive with requests far exceeding available funding. In the 2020 solicitation, 130 project applications were submitted and 56 (43%) were funded. Projects were funded in all seven metro area counties, in twenty-six cities and townships.
What is the level of effort to complete an application? Is it worth it?
These applications are moderately complex. Some elements require considerable lead time (e.g., preparing a layout; public engagement activities, etc.). Applications started early are generally higher quality than those that are completed towards the end of the solicitation process.
Federal requirements must be met on selected projects (e.g., federal environmental documents, federal and state design, and construction requirements, etc.). WSB advises that applicants request at least $500,000 to make going through federal process(es) worthwhile for financial reasons.
If you are considering submitting a Regional Solicitation application or want to discuss whether a project is a good fit for the program, please contact Mary Gute.
1: To be competitive, multiuse trail and bicycle facility projects should be on the Regional Bicycle Transportation Network (RBTN); Safe Routes to School (Infrastructure), projects should be included in a completed Safe Routes to School Plan and/or engineering study.
2: Transit funding is usually awarded to transit agencies.
Mary has 20 years of progressively complex transportation planning and project management experience, gained from working on a variety of transportation projects for modes including roads/bridge, transit, and trails. Several these projects have included environmental documentation considerations – either pre-NEPA, or through NEPA and/or MEPA processes.
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