MnDOT Accepting Grant Applications for Local Road Improvement Program

December 7, 2020

Cities of all sizes are eligible to apply for a portion of the $75 million in Local Road Improvement Program funds that were authorized in the 2020 bonding bill.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced on Dec. 2 that the agency is soliciting applications for Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) grants. The 2020 bonding bill included $75 million in undesignated LRIP funds to be awarded to local units of government on a competitive basis.

Applications are due by March 3, and awards will be announced in May. The maximum grant award per local unit of government is $1.25 million. Cities are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility and evaluation

The MnDOT Office of State Aid has provided the following guidelines for those interested in applying for funds:

  • Projects that have received legislatively selected appropriations (“earmarks”) or previous LRIP grants are not eligible for funding under this solicitation.
  • Projects that will be awarded or are under construction before the anticipated LRIP award notifications in May 2021 are not eligible for funding under this solicitation.
  • Projects should be non-controversial and should be targeting construction in 2021, 2022, or 2023.
  • County projects will be evaluated against other county projects, state aid city projects against state aid city projects, and small city/township projects against small city/township projects. Projects from all four local road authorities will be funded.
  • The expected useful life of improvements must be a minimum of 10 years. Maintenance type activities such as filling potholes, blading gravel roads, and stand-alone ditch repairs are not eligible for LRIP grants.
  • Items that are eligible for LRIP funds include reasonable elements associated with roadway construction, including basic landscaping and turf establishment. Landscaping planters, benches, bike racks, decorative fences, ornamental lighting, and other aesthetic treatments above the standard are generally not eligible. Other items that are not eligible include engineering; construction administration and inspection; right of way acquisition; and water main, sanitary sewer, or private utility work.
  • This LRIP solicitation is funded with general obligation bonds, and thus funds cannot be used for improvements on the trunk highway system, including those costs that might be required from a local agency on a trunk highway project as per MnDOT’s Cost Participation Policy.
  • Projects will be selected by MnDOT in consultation with the LRIP Advisory Committee, which is comprised of local government representatives.

For the full list of requirements, see the 2020 LRIP Solicitation Guide (pdf)

County sponsorship requirement

As has been required in past solicitations, MnDOT is requiring projects on township and non-state aid city roads to be county sponsored. See #4 under Project Selection in the LRIP Solicitation Guide for more information on duties associated with this requirement.

This is required (1) to provide engineering, plan development, contract administration, and grant agreement expertise to townships and small cities, and (2) to help ensure that the improvements will be constructed on time and within budget. Townships and small cities should be in contact with their county engineer on potential applications.

Questions should be directed to MnDOT State Aid Programs Engineer Marc Briese at marc.briese@state.mn.us.

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