The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) has announced the award of funding to applicants for “Safe Routes to School” Program projects in Arkansas, according to AHTD Director Scott Bennett. The program is a 100 percent Federally-funded initiative of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
“This program is specifically directed toward enabling and encouraging students in Kindergarten through 8th grade to walk or bicycle to school,” said Bennett. “We were overwhelmed with 52 applications seeking over $7.6 million during the fifth application period for this program. The Highway Commission was able to award approximately $2.0 million in funds toward 31 very deserving projects.”
Areas within two miles of a K-8th grade school are eligible for funds to be disbursed in two categories – infrastructure improvements and non-infrastructure. Improvement projects can include the planning, design and construction of sidewalks, crossings, and bicycle facilities as well as traffic diversion and speed reduction improvements. Non-infrastructure programs can include public awareness campaigns, traffic education, walking school buses, bike trains, enforcement and outreach activities.
The AHTD will now work with the successful applicants to develop their proposals into completed projects.