The Arizona Department of Transportation is accepting applications for its latest cycle of federal grants to implement Safe Routes to School programs in schools and communities around Arizona.

Safe Routes to School is a federally funded program that encourages elementary and middle school students to walk or bike to school regularly, in order to foster healthy habits and lower the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes.

There is currently $5 million available in grant funding that will be awarded to applicants for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure grants up to $400,000 each can go towards improvements such as sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, signage and striping.

Non-infrastructure grants up to $45,000 each can go towards programs and activities, such as providing bike helmets to students, implementing safety education and for law enforcement.

Grant applications are available at www.azdot.gov/srts under "Applications, Forms and Guidance" and must be submitted by Dec. 30.

Eligible applicants include schools, school districts, tribal communities, cities, counties and nonprofit organizations.

Applicants can also learn more about applying for Safe Routes to School grants through ADOT's Planning Assistance Program and Tribal Planning Assistance Program.

These programs provide selected communities with free consultant support to assess their sites, meet with their teams and then help them write their Safe Routes to School grants.

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