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  • Kristin Cooper

Sustainable Communities and Strategic Partnerships -Deadline soon

Approximately $12 million in State Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account (RMRA) funds and $5 million in State Highway Account (SHA) funds, or a combined total of $17 million will be distributed through a competitive program to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) with a sub-applicant(s), Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs), cities and counties, transit agencies, and Native American Tribal Governments. MPOs can apply to the Sustainable Communities Competitive Grants only in collaboration with a sub-applicant(s).


Approximately $3 million will be set-aside for a technical project sub-category. In accordance with the recent release of the guidance documents for the implementation of Senate Bill 743 (SB 743, Chapter 386, Statutes of 2013), there is a current need for improved tools to measure VMT and induced travel. Funding distribution for the competitive program will depend on the quality and number of applications.


The purpose of the Sustainable Communities grants is to fund local and regional multimodal transportation and land use planning projects that further the region’s RTP SCS (where applicable), contribute to the State’s GHG reduction targets, and assist in achieving the Caltrans Mission and Grant Program Objectives, and must be considered when preparing the grant application.


A minimum threshold of 50 percent of Sustainable Communities Competitive and Technical Grants has been identified for projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, which includes Native American Tribal Governments and rural communities (for transportation planning purposes, rural is defined as all areas of the State that are not included in urbanized areas of 50,000 in population or greater; refer to Appendix C. Caltrans/Regional Agency Boundaries Map, which indicates rural areas). Sustainable Communities Competitive applicants must demonstrate how the project fits every aspect of the Grant Specific Objective, as appropriate for the applicant and project type. The grant specific objectives for Sustainable Communities grants are listed below.


• Encourage local and regional multimodal transportation and land use planning that furthers the region’s RTP SCS (where applicable)

• Contribute to the State’s GHG reduction targets and other State goals, including but not limited to, the goals and best practices cited in the 2017 RTP Guidelines

• Address the needs of disadvantaged communities

• Assist in achieving the Caltrans Mission and Grant Program Objectives (See Chapter 1.2).


Sustainable Communities Technical project types do not require public engagement due to their technical nature, but applicants should explain how the public will be involved at later stages of the planning process. However, applicants are required to collaborate with and involve appropriate stakeholders with technical expertise. Technical applications are scored under the same criteria as all other project types, they are grouped with other technical projects, and they compete at the same level. Refer to Chapter 2.2 for Example Technical Project Types. Caltrans will screen applications submitted under this category to ensure they are in-fact technical projects. If it s found that the project is not one of a technical nature, it will compete with the other Sustainable Communities Competitive applicant pool. Applicants must demonstrate how the project fits every aspect of the Grant Specific Objective, as appropriate for the applicant and project type.

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