(JUNEAU, Alaska) — Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) officials today announced the availability of more than $1 million in grants for Alaska communities under the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.
SRTS programs encourage children in kindergarten through eighth grade to walk or ride bikes to and from school by creating safer walking and biking routes. The programs are funded through the federal transportation act known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The legislation, signed into law Aug. 10, 2005, provides funding to state transportation departments to create and administer SRTS programs. The SRTS programs are designed to promote and improve healthier lifestyles in children at early ages and decrease auto-related emissions near schools.
“These available grant monies provide an opportunity for schools and communities to help address planning, design and construction improvement near their schools,” said Steve Soenksen, Alaska SRTS Coordinator.
According to Soenksen, communities and schools interested in applying for grants can do so by visiting the Alaska SRTS website at www.dot.alaska.gov/saferoutes.
“The grants can be used for planning, infrastructure improvements and non-infrastructure improvements whether they include creating designated or improving walking paths or launching public awareness campaigns and educational materials,” Soenksen said.
Thirty years ago, more than 66 percent of all school children in the U.S. walked to school. Today, that number walking or biking to school is 13 percent. Health, safety, and transportation issues come together with the Safe Routes to Schools Program.
For more information regarding SRTS, contact Steve Soenksen at (907) 465-4069 or email to: srts (at) dot.state.ak (dot) us