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Navigating the Local Road Improvement Program: A Guide for Minnesota Communities

Finding funding for transportation projects is a monumental challenge for local governments. Limited budgets mean communities often lack the capital to rebuild aging roads and bridges or construct new infrastructure to meet needs. Yet compiling project costs, researching funding sources, navigating complex programs, and preparing detailed applications require massive time and resource investments from already stretched staff. The process can seem like an insurmountable obstacle when managers just want to provide safe, reliable transportation infrastructure for residents. Nevertheless, securing financing is essential for bringing plans to life.

Luckily, the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) is here to help communities in Minnesota. The program provides crucial funding for constructing and reconstructing locally owned roads across Minnesota. Administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), the program awards up to $1.5 million per project to improve transportation infrastructure in the state.

The application cycle opened on September 12th, 2023 so now is the time for cities, counties, and townships to evaluate potential projects, prepare proposals, and apply for funding. Read on to learn more about navigating the LRIP process and how Moore Engineering can support your funding application success.

LRIP Program Overview

The goal of LRIP is to provide state assistance for critical local road investments that may be beyond the means of local budgets alone. The total funding amount each year varies. This year, roughly $100 million is allocated to the program. Candidates will compete within peer groups – counties against counties, cities against cities. The MnDOT aims to allocate funds according to these ratios:

  • 30% State Aid Cities
  • 35% Counties
  • 30% Small Cities and Townships
  • 5% Discretionary

Deadlines are tight, with applications due December 8th and awards announced the following March, there’s no time to waste! Funding becomes available on a rolling basis through 2026 as projects get underway.

Prior to investing time or resources in your LRIP application, it’s important to consider the eligibility requirements for your community’s project. The program aims to fund projects that meet one of the three accounts described below.

Trunk Highway Corridor Account

This account provides funds to assist federally recognized Indian tribes, cities, towns, and counties with local costs related to trunk highway projects that are not fully funded by other state or federal funds.

Routes of Regional Significance Account

This account provides grants to construct or reconstruct city streets, county highways, and town or tribal roads with statewide or regional significance. The grants cover costs not fully funded by state, federal, local, or tribal funding sources, and are essential to maintain infrastructure, promote economic growth, and ensure safe and efficient transportation.

Rural Road Safety Account

Creating a safe transportation environment for motorists and pedestrians is every engineer’s top priority. The Rural Road Safety account is used to provide funding to counties for constructing or reconstructing improvement projects that are intended primarily to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, injuries, and property damage crashes on rural County State Aid Highways.

Other Eligibility Considerations

Eligible projects include local road construction or reconstruction projects scheduled between 2024 and 2026 that are outside trunk highway right-of-way. No local match is required, though non-state aid cities and townships require a county sponsor. 

Don’t Do It Alone

Preparing a winning application for funding requires an in-depth understanding of infrastructure needs, detailed project financials, and alignment with MnDOT priorities. Details matter – but uncovering all of the necessary information is a time-consuming task.

That’s where Moore Engineering comes in. Our funding experts works alongside our experienced team of engineers, scientists, and specialists to prepare, win, and manage your funding awards. In the last five years alone, our team has helped clients obtain over $270 Million to fund their most important projects.

From start to end, Moore Engineering will be your trusted advisor. Below are just a few of the comprehensive funding services offered by Moore Engineering.

  • Proposal Management – Create & maintain proposal schedule and coordinate contributions.
  • Award Analysis – Identify all terms, conditions, and other requirements by carefully examining award documents and dialoguing with agency staff.
  • Compliance Coordination – Compile and maintain project data related to BABA, Labor Standards, Section 3, and other requirements of federal and state awards.

In short, we handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on building a vibrant, safe, and connected community. With Moore Engineering as your partner, your LRIP application can speak directly to program priorities with the numbers to back it up. 

If you’re ready to secure the funding you need through the LRIP program, we encourage you to reach out to our team. We can’t wait to work with you!

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