Quarterly Newsletter | October 2022
R5 Regional Transportation Coordinating Council
Volunteer Driver News
Volunteer Driver Forum Series
The 2022 – 2023 Volunteer Driver Forum Series kicked off on October 6th 2022. The series will bring together volunteer driver program administrators, volunteer drivers, riders, funders, transportation policy advocates, and transportation stakeholders. Participants will also have the opportunity to share information to help maintain and strengthen these programs. 

U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN) and Pete Stauber (R-MN) introduced the Tax Emergency Adjustment for Mileage Volunteers (TEAM Volunteers) Act
This bipartisan bill helps to relieve the financial pressures volunteer drivers face in light of rising gas prices and inflationary pressures. The act would increase the charitable mileage reimbursement rate from $0.14 to $0.625 per mile for a 2-year period.
Safe Routes to School
Pequot Lakes SRTS Planning Grant Underway
The Pequot Lakes SRTS Planning Grant officially got underway with a kickoff meeting that was held on September 28th where staff went over the planning process and timeline. The Planning team is set to meet again in late October. A brief overview of the planning process is included below:

Task 1: Initial Contact with Project Applicant
Task 2: Meeting 1, Kickoff Meeting
Task 3: Survey and Student Tallies
Task 4: Assessment of Issues and Barriers
Task 5: Meeting 2, Walking/ Biking Audit
Task 6: Develop DRAFT Strategies and Action Steps
Task 7: Meeting 3, Action Plan
Task 8: DRAFT Plan
Task 9: Meeting 4, DRAFT Plan Review
Task 10: Finalize SRTS Plan Document

To learn more about Safe Routes to School and how Region Five assists please click the following link: Safe Routes to School | R5DC (regionfive.org)
Toward Zero Deaths
Photo courtesy of Brainerd Lakes Toward Zero Deaths Coalition
East Central Minnesota TZD
TZD is the state’s cornerstone traffic safety program, employing an interdisciplinary approach to reducing traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths on Minnesota roads.
The mission of TZD is to create a culture for which traffic fatalities and serious injuries are no longer acceptable through the integrated application of education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services. These efforts will be driven by data, best practices, and research.

Minnesota state departments and agencies are taking innovative approaches against the chief causes of traffic-related fatalities and injuries—driver inexperience, lack of seat belt use, dangerous intersections, speeding, tailgating, and delayed medical attention after a crash has occurred. These interdisciplinary programs have been identified as priority strategies for Minnesota TZD.
Throughout the state there are multiple TZD Regions, each with their own TZD Coalitions. Some regions have TZD coalitions in each of their counties, some have only one, and others have existing gaps. More information about Minnesota TZD can be found here.
In Region 5, we have the Brainerd Lakes Area Towards Zero Death (TZD) Coalition which serves Crow Wing County and parts of Cass County. Additionally, Morrison County is served by a similar coalition, but the other parts of Region Five currently do not have a TZD presence. MnDOT staff, along with R5DC staff and other local stakeholders are in the beginning stages of having conversations with communities regarding the formation of additional TZD coalitions where gaps exist.
If you, or someone you know is interested in taking actions that can improve traffic safety, reduce injury, and perhaps save lives, please contact Tad Erickson, transportation planner at: terickson@regionfive.org or by phone at 218.820.9281.
Toward Zero Deaths honors Duda with TZD Star Award
Josh Duda was one of 11 individuals recently recognized by Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program representatives at the 2022 TZD Conference, for their innovative efforts to reduce the number of traffic deaths and serious injuries in the state. Duda is a flight paramedic with North Memorial Ambulance and Air Care in the Brainerd/Baxter region.
Duda received the TZD Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Star Award. He was recognized for his efforts to save lives in the air and on the ground as a paramedic and educator. Josh is a subject matter expert in occupant protection, a field training officer, safety advocate, innovative leader and a great role model for traffic safety.
TZD Star Awards are given annually to recognize those who display excellence in engineering, enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. They have shown leadership and creativity with extraordinary efforts to improve traffic safety and build partnerships with others working towards the same goal.
More details on each award, along with more information and photos of each award winner, can found on the 2022 TZD Awards website
Mn Department of Transportation Planning/TAC
Transportation Alternatives Program Solicitation Open for Fiscal Year 2027
The TA Program provides Federal transportation funding for projects such as pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities, Safe Routes to School, historic preservation, environmental activities and more. The Central Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership (ATP-3) is currently conducting its solicitation for Fiscal Year 2027 Transportation Alternatives program (TA) projects. The TA program is for community-based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by integrating modes and improving the cultural, historic, and environmental aspects of our transportation infrastructure. 

The solicitation taking place this fall/winter is for projects that will be ready for construction in fiscal year 2027 within the 12 County ATP-3 boundaries. Under the statewide process administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, ATPs throughout the state use a distinct process for project selection.  Additional information and related links are available at www.dot.state.mn.us/ta/. Or by reaching out to Tad Erickson, Transportation Planner at Region Five at: terickson@regionfive.org or by phone at 218.920.9281.
Highway Safety Improvement Program Solicitation
MnDOT has announced information regarding the Greater MN solicitation for District (and Local) HSIP funds. Attached please find the solicitation announcement and Proactive/Reactive application forms. 
The applications are due the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 23, 2022. If a project is located within MPO boundaries (www.mndot.gov/planning/program/mpordcatp.html), please be sure to start the process earlier to allow enough time to take care of the procedures needed.
Should you have questions on the solicitation, please do not hesitate to contact Eric DeVoe, from MnDOT’s Office of Traffic Engineering. His contact information is 651/234-7016 or eric.devoe@state.mn.us.