Baggs gets Safe Routes to School funding

Baggs is one of the first six Wyoming communities to receive a funding grant as part of the new Safe Routes to School program, the Wyoming Department of Transportation announced this week.

The Baggs project, valued at $32,373, involves building more than 1,200 feet of sidewalk to improve access to the Little Snake River Valley School and associated athletic field.

SRTS has the principal aim of increasing the number of primary and middle school children who walk or bicycle to school, while reducing the potential hazards for those who do so, a release said.

The program is managed by WYDOT, in coordination with federal, state and local partners.

Congress created SRTS in 2005 when it passed the five-year transportation-funding bill, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act -- A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Federal fund-

ing for SRTS projects is 100 percent, requiring no local match. Project leveraging with local funding is encouraged. Wyoming's annual share of SRTS funding amounts to about $1 million per year.

A six-member SRTS advisory committee has been assembled to review proposals and recommend project awards. Membership is drawn from WYDOT, the Wyoming Association of Municipalities, the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, the Federal Highway Administration and the Wyoming Department of Education. The actual project awards are made by the Wyoming Transportation Commission.

Now under development is an application form and SRTS planning kit, which will be ready in time for the next call for project proposals early next year.

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