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Communities to Receive Safe Routes to School Grants

(JUNEAU, Alaska) - More Alaska communities will soon receive grants under the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. The program provides federal funding to local communities to plan improvements to the routes children take on their way to school. It also provides funds for planning and design of pedestrian and bicycling improvements in the vicinity of elementary and middle schools.

Sitka, Naknek, Fairbanks, Cordova, Seward and Palmer are the communities which submitted projects for SRTS grants. Those projects were approved by the Federal Highway Administration.

Two Seward schools and a charter school in Palmer will also begin a SRTS program.

At the Bristol Bay School in Naknek, students initiated their own SRTS program, and now their efforts will be rewarded with funding for a local pathway project.

"Sitka and Cordova will develop education and encouragement activities to teach pedestrian and bike safety and begin planning for infrastructure improvements," said Steve Soenksen, the SRTS Coordinator for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

According to Soenksen, all of the projects encourage children to walk or bike to school where it is safe, as well as making their routes safer. Applications for next year's grants are being accepted through Dec. 15, 2009. Application information can be found at http://www.dot.state.ak.us/stwdplng/saferoutes/grants.shtml or by calling (907) 465-4069.

With this latest round of approved grants, the DOT&PF, managing the program at the state level, has disbursed more than $1 million federal dollars for improvements, programs and activities in communities under the federal SRTS program.

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