RTD launching $2 million in community mobility grants | Business

The Regional Transportation District will offer $2 million to local governments in the eight-county district to fund innovative mobility projects that meet community needs. The funds come from RTD’s 1% sales and use taxes.

The program provides an opportunity for local governments and Transportation Management Associations/Organizations to apply for funding for services or enhancements that complement RTD existing services or fill an existing transportation need, according to a news release.

Applications are only open to local governments, not private non-governmental organizations, and applications must have the approval of the appropriate city, county or town elected boards.

Transportation management organizations affiliated with local government are eligible for funding but must work through their governing authority when applying.

“Through RTD’s Partnership Program, local governments have an opportunity to expand or enhance existing mobility options,” said RTD General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson in a release. “RTD recognizes that the unique needs of each community in the region are best met through partnerships at the local level.”

RTD is looking for projects that will be compatible with its overall goals that will serve populations and areas that can connect with and enhance RTD’s mobility networks.

The solicitation is broad and doesn’t prescribe the kinds of mobility solutions the district is looking for. RTD says local communities know best what services would benefit their citizens.

RTD will consider all innovative ideas that are within district boundaries. However, infrastructure projects are not eligible — which includes things like bike paths or bridges.

“We’re really looking to the communities to tell us what their mobility needs are,” said Charlie Stansfield, a planning project manager at RTD, in an interview with The Denver Gazette. “We’re not being prescriptive with this program. And there are a lot of great ideas out there with what that means to those different communities. And so, we’re basically waiting for them to provide those ideas to us through this call.”

While Stansfield was reticent to give a list of examples because the goal is to let the communities innovate, he gave one example to prime the idea pump.

“I think one example that we will likely see submitted to us is some form of an on-demand shuttle where an organization would provide a shuttle service that picks someone up from a certain location and drops them off at their destination,” said Stansfield.

Eligible projects include:

• Fixed route transit service — operating on a specific route

• On-demand transit service — demand responsive service operating in a specific area

• Other mobility service that does not fall into the above categories

• Other project that enhances mobility through other means

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Each approved project is limited to a maximum of 30%, or about $600,000, of the total available funds.

A minimum 20% local cash match is required for each approved project, and if an applicant is awarded money, RTD will commit up to three years of funding, with a start date of 2024.

The program is currently budgeted by RTD to be renewed for the next three years, said Tina Jaquez, spokesperson for RTD. But the RTD board will consider and vote on each year’s funding and can increase or decrease it.

Eligible organizations can apply for partnership funding through 5 p.m. July 7 and recommendations will be announced and awarded in September.

RTD will hold a virtual Q & A session on Thursday at 11 a.m. for those who have questions on the application process.

Full details can be found on the Partnership Program page of the RTD website.

Applications will be evaluated on criteria that will consider the following factors:

• Alignment with RTD strategic priorities is awarded money, of Community Value and Customer Excellence

• Local support and ability to meet local needs

• Complements existing RTD services

• Provides service where there is a gap in existing service

• Provides service to equity populations

• Potential ridership

• Project readiness

For technical assistance on the application process, please contact, Erin Vallejos [email protected] or Charlie Stanfield [email protected].

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