Funding Opportunity: Metro Regional Travel Options (RTO) Grants — $2.5M Available

Metro regional government has released a call for proposals for the 2017-2019 Regional Travel Options (RTO) Grants, and $2.5 million is available to government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations in the Portland Metro region, to help improve the transportation system through education and encouragement of travel choices to and from work or school, such as carpooling, riding transit, walking, and bicycling. These programs help the region in numerous ways by both improving mobility and reducing pollution from car trips.

Grant proposals due September 23, 2016

“It’s not enough just to build a transportation system with options to walk, bike, take transit or ride share. People need to know how to access those options and understand the benefits. That’s where Metro’s Regional Travel Options program comes in.”

Many Travel Options projects benefit youth and families, providing safe and healthy opportunities for active travel in communities around the region, and Safe Routes to School projects are a great fit for this grant opportunity. In the last grantmaking round:

  • Living Cully was a grant recipient to support their work incorporating a long-term, community-based and collaborative strategy to address multiple disparities in health, income, education, community engagement and natural resources; in doing so, Living Cully is helping children and families overcome barriers to travel options in their neighborhood.
  • The Beaverton School District received funding to reignite its Safe Routes to School program. For the past year, BSD provided school-appropriate programs and training to help communities and students reduce reliance on private auto travel and help them find and choose non-drive alone options, also helping reduce reliance on busing students to these schools.
  • Portland Public School District received funding for a project intended to close infrastructure equity gaps, overcome cultural barriers to walking or biking to school, reduce school site vehicle trip generation and increase safety within the Portland Public Schools student active transportation network.
  • The City of Tigard received a grant to initiate a Safe Routes to School program that acknowledged the work that needs to be done and made a commitment to do it. The city is successfully engaging schools, government agencies, parents and kids to make walking and biking to school a practical and fun activity through a city-wide Safe Routes to School Program.

Safe Routes to School National Partnership, working in the Pacific Northwest, is here to help support your efforts in the Metro region to create a balanced, comprehensive multimodal transportation system for students and school-based staff through discussion of project ideas, providing feedback on your application, or via a formal partnership as a co-applicant.

The National Partnership encourages partners who are interested in applying for RTO funds for a Safe Routes to School-focused project, to get in touch with us. We can help provide technical assistance on your application, match you up with other appropriate regional partners who wish to apply, and answer questions about the RTO grants and how a Safe Routes to School project would work in your School District or town. Contact the Safe Routes to School Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager, Kari Schlosshauer, at kari@saferoutespartnership.org for more information.

Read on to find out who’s eligible to apply, how much is available for a project, when you need to apply, and how to get more information and help.

Who’s Eligible?
That’s important. You have to be, or partner with, a non-profit organization, school district, or other government agency (such as a city or health department) in order to apply.

How Much is Available?
$2.5 million is available for projects carried out within the tri-county region including urbanized portions of Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County. The project proposal must be for a minimum of $75,000.
A cash or “services in-kind” match is required at a minimum of 10.27% of the total project cost. Applicants should also plan to hold approximately 10% of the grant for evaluation purposes.

NOTE: The recent vote at Metro allocating $1.5M in dedicated funding via RTO to Safe Routes to School projects will be available during the RTO grant cycle that opens in 2018.

Timeline
The grant cycle is open now and applications are due to Metro at 5:00pm on September 23, 2016. The funds support projects that will be carried out from July 2017 through June 2019. Projects cannot begin prior to July 1, 2017.

Criteria
There are four key categories that will be assessed in a grant application: Environment, Equity, Health, and Economy. Safe Routes to School programs easily address each of these criteria with flying colors, and we’re here to provide assistance in putting together an application. Read more about matching Safe Routes to School projects to RTO criteria.

Learn more
More information and application materials can be found on the RTO page of Metro’s website. For more information, email rto@oregonmetro.gov.

 

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