The Futures Institute

Rural Surface Transportation

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Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program

About

Enacted through the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, this grant supports projects that will improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas to increase connectivity, improve the safety and reliability of transportation in rural areas, generate economic activity, and improve quality of life for rural residents. 

Eligible Uses

Highway, bridge, or tunnel projects eligible under the National Highway Performance Program, Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, or the Tribal Transportation Program; highway freight projects eligible under the National Highway Performance Program; highway safety improvement projects; projects on a publicly-owned highway or bridge improving access to certain facilities that support the economy of a rural area; integrated mobility management systems, transportation demand management systems, or on-demand mobility services

Grant Award

Most projects are for $25 million or more, though 10% of funds are set aside for projects costing less than $25 million. 

Eligible
Recipients

State, Regional transportation planning organizations, Local governments, Tribal governments

Restrictions

The federal share is 80% for planning grants and no more than 50% of total project costs for capital construction gra

Due Date

First round funding closed on May 23, 2022. A new notice is expected early 2023. 

Agency

The Department of Transportation 

Materials Needed

Unknown

Application Difficulty

Unknown

Evidence on Investments in Built Design

Over the years, research has shown that basic investments in built design—in streetlights, parks, road design, public transportation, and addressing vacant lots—has significant implications for community safety. Decades of criminology research has found a link between built design and residents’ safety. This growing body of literature should influence how urban planners and local policymakers leverage our most basic resource: the design of our physical space.

Overall, the design of urban spaces has been shown to have crime-reducing effects. Recent studies in multiple jurisdictions, including PhiladelphiaBaltimore, and Youngstown, have found that maintaining green space reduces certain types of crime. A rigorous study found that restoring vacant land in cities significantly improves both local residents’ perception of their safety, as well as their actual physical safety. Restoration projects produced large reductions in crime, including a 30 percent reduction in gun violence. Increasing public transportation options for residents has a direct effect on economic opportunities, while reducing certain types of crime, and reducing traffic congestion may lower rates of domestic violence in areas with high congestion. In New York City, research demonstrated that streetlights can reduce “index crimes”—including murder, robbery, aggravated assault, and some property crimes—by more than a third. And improving streets and sidewalks so that they enhance pedestrian safety has been shown to reduce crime. 

In short, the evidence makes clear that by carefully considering our physical space and letting community members drive improvements that they feel to keep them safe, we can make significant progress toward reducing violence and other harms. 

Grant Writing Resources

Grants.Gov Resources

Applicant Training Videos (step-by-step guide on how to find grants, set up an account on grants.gov, and submit an application)

Applicant FAQ page

Other Resources

Community Toolbox’s Applying For Grants Toolkit (Outline of process + example applications)

FAQs

Q: What is community safety? 

A: We use the term “community safety” as well as “non-carceral safety” to indicate an approach to reducing violence and harm that invests in people over punishment. This can include unarmed civilian first responders and community violence prevention, but must also center preventative and root-caused focused solutions such as investments in schools, healthcare, and the environment. These solutions not only create holistic safety by improving well-being, they have been directly tied to reductions in violence. 

Q: How do the grants in the American Rescue Plan and other recent bills fit into this database? 

A: This database contains grants contained both in specific legislation (like the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, and the Inflation Reduction act) but it focuses primarily on grants funded annually through the federal budget process. Please see our resources specifically on ARPA and IIJA for more information on funding opportunities in those bills. 

Q: Where should I go if I have additional questions? 

A: Feel free to reach out to samwashington@civilrightscorps.org with questions or comments. If you’d like to suggest a grant, please fill out this form

 

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