Regional Solicitation

Allocating federal funds to meet local and regional transportation needs

The Regional Solicitation process allocates federal transportation funds to locally-initiated projects to meet regional transportation needs. As the region's federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Council works with the Transportation Advisory Board to review and allocate these funds, using an objective, data-driven, transparent process. 

2020 Regional Solicitation Closed  

 
The Metropolitan Council released applications of the 2020 Regional Solicitation for federal transportation funding on February 24, 2020.  The application process closed on May 15, 2020.  The Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) will select projects for funding December 2020.  A total of approximately $180 million in federal funds is anticipated to be available in this solicitation for program years 2024 and 2025. 

Funding Ranges for Solicitation Categories

  • Roadways: 46%-65% or $83M-$117M
  • Transit & TDM: 25%-35% or $45M - $65M
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian: 9%-20% or $16M - $36M

2020 Regional Solicitation Application Changes 


On April 15, 2020, TAB approved flexibility with the required elements in the applications:
  • A change to the turning movement count data collection, which will not provide regular count data at this time.  Applicants may either use three years of older data or can use Streetlight Insights data intersection turning movement counts.  Metropolitan Council staff is able to provide Streetlight Insights data to applicants.
  • Outreach meetings cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak be considered for points in the equity outreach scoring measure.
  • Required letters of support do not need to be submitted with the application and may be submitted later up to September 1, 2020.

2020 MnDOT HSIP application is now available

The Minnesota Department of Transportation released the HSIP application on February 3rd. The application deadline is July 1st.  
 

2020 Regional Solicitation Update Overview

The Metropolitan Council and the Transportation Advisory Board have incorporated public comments on the draft into the Regional Solicitation and Highway Safety Improvement Program applications. The final draft solicitation applications are available below in Word format.

The summary of major changes below highlights the key changes in this year’s applications:

  • Two new funding categories were approved: roadway spot mobility and safety, and arterial bus rapid transit project.
    • Roadway spot mobility and safety projects are smaller improvements that focus on mobility and safety at street level intersections with traffic lights or corridor-level intersections. These projects were previously eligible for roadway expansion, but their smaller investment scale did not compete well with larger projects.
    • The arterial bus rapid transit project category will provide funding to deliver one complete arterial bus rapid transit project. Previous solicitations did not make room for these larger projects and required them to be broken up into multiple Transit Expansion or Transit Modernization applications across funding cycles. Bus rapid transit types (PDF)
  • The Transportation Advisory Board established ranges and midpoints to guide their funding distribution across the modal categories. New for this cycle is an adjustment to increase the transit funding range by $5 million, and to reduce the roadway range by $4 million and the bicycle and pedestrian range by $1 million. The board will ultimately decide on the funding distribution when they select projects in late 2020.
  • The board set aside 2.5 percent of this cycle’s total funding for unique projects in the 2022 solicitation. This includes funding for the Travel Behavior Inventory and Regional Travel Model. The board will work over the next two years to establish eligibility for unique projects and develop an evaluation framework that will lay out the priorities for the funding category. Project applications will be accepted starting in the 2022 cycle for implementation in 2024 and 2025.

The Regional Solicitation uses criteria and measures to evaluate which projects best contribute to regional goals and objectives and therefore warrant funding. These changes are proposed for this cycle:
  • IImproved the equity scoring measure to focus less on where equity populations are concentrated in the region, and more on the benefits to equity populations and equity engagement specific to the project.
  • Added a new pedestrian safety measure in the roadway funding categories to emphasize the regional need for improved pedestrian safety.
  • Added a new congestion measure to the roadway applications to begin implementation of the region’s Congestion Management Process.
  • Integrated the Regional Bicycle Barriers Study into measures in the multiuse trails and bicycle facilities funding category and the roadways funding categories.
  • Included a new provision in the Roadway funding categories that allows projects to deduct funding awarded through other competitive funding programs (e.g. Transportation Economic Development Program) from the total project cost when calculating the cost effectiveness measure.
  • Added a new provision in the risk assessment measure for all projects that asks applicants about public and stakeholder engagement on the proposed project.
The Regional Solicitation has requirements for the minimum and maximum funding amounts that any project can receive, which attempts to strike a balance between efficient use of the federal funds and a geographic balance of funding. These changes are proposed for this cycle: 
  • Decreased the roadway traffic management technologies maximum federal award from $7 million to $3.5 million to better align with historical application requests.
  • Increase the roadway strategic capacity (previously roadway expansion) maximum federal award from $7 million to $10 million to accommodate the growing cost of these larger scale improvement projects.
  • Increase the transit modernization minimum award from $100,000 to $500,000 to make sure that we are funding substantial infrastructure projects with federal funding.
  • Increase the travel demand management minimum award from $75,000 to $100,000 to ensure that these projects are substantial enough to warrant the requirements of federal funding.
  • Establish the roadway spot mobility and safety minimum award at $1 million and maximum award at $3.5 million.
  • Establish the arterial bus rapid transit maximum award at $25 million for one project.
The Regional Solicitation also includes policies that the Transportation Advisory Board establishes to address specific priorities. There are several changes proposed for this cycle:
  • Require project applicants to have a completed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan to qualify for federal funding. An ADA transition plan is an implementation plan for government agencies to make sure that all facilities are accessible to people who have disabilities. The previous solicitation in 2018 only required substantial work toward a completed ADA transition plan. 
  • Establish a Transit New Market Guarantee to fund at least one transit expansion or transit modernization project that is outside of Transit Market Areas 1 and 2 on at least one end of the project. This is intended to encourage greater geographic balance of transit investments, where recent awards have focused in or around the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
  • Establish an eligibility requirement that the sponsors of multiuse trail projects verify that trails will be maintained for year-round bicycle and pedestrian use, including snow and ice control.

 

 

Contact us

Elaine Koutsoukos, TAB Coordinator, elaine.koutsoukos@metc.state.mn.us or 651-602-1717

Timeline
  • 6/25/2020 to 8/3/2020 - Scoring Groups meet, evaluate applications, rank applications 
  • 8/20/2020 - TAC F&PC approve the draft scrores
  • 8/31/2020 - Scoring re-evaluation requests are due. 
  • 8/28/2020 - 9/4/2020 - Staff reviews all the scoring reevaluation requests, consults with individual scorer and chair and prepares a report for TAC F&PC.  
  • 9/17/2020 - TAC F&PC finalize all scores. 
  • 9/2020 to 11/2020  - Funding scenarios developed.  
  • 11/2020 - TAC F&PC recommend project scenarios
  • 12/2020 - TAC recommend projects scenarios; TAB approve project selection. 
  • 1/2021 - Council concurs with project selection