May 14, 2009
The state''s Safe Routes to School Program has received a funding allocation of more than $3 million which will kick-start projects in 14 communities throughout Mississippi.
Safe Routes to School, which is administered by the Mississippi Depart-ment of Transportation, is designed to encourage kids to ride their bikes or walk to school, which provides multiple benefits. The program was launched in Mississippi approximately three years ago.
Federal dollars which fund the program are administered locally. MDOT has announced funding for Noxubee and Hinds counties, Greenville, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Hernando, Jackson, Long Beach, Meridian, Oxford, the Gulfport Police Department, the South Tippah School District, Pelahatchie and Tishomingo.
Funding levels range from $739,000 for sidewalk construction, pedestrian bridge construction and signage in Meridian to $10,000 for project planning in Greenville.
"We want to increase the number of children walking and biking to school, so that we''re increasing physical activity, reducing traffic congestion around the schools, and improving air quality around our schools," MDOT SRS Coordinator Cookie Leffler said. "It is recommended that kids get about 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and this program helps them meet that recommendation."
In 2007, Amory, Starkville, West Point and the Lowndes County Chapter of Safe Kids Mississippi received SRS funding through MDOT.