Rural Access Infrastructure Funding Process

To address the need to repair and replace small structures on South Dakota county secondary and township highways, the 2021 South Dakota Legislature enacted HB1259 entitled “An Act to make an appropriation for rural access infrastructure improvements and to declare an emergency” . The legislation directs the South Dakota Department of Revenue to distribute $3 million among counties by August 1, 2021 to establish county Rural Access Infrastructure Funds. A county’s RAIF will be used initially to plan and complete inventories of small structures (defined as structures with an opening of at least sixteen square feet but less than 20 feet long in the direction of the highway). The legislation also directs the Department of Revenue to distribute another $3 million in proportion to counties’ shares of statewide small structure numbers by August 1, 2022 for planning, engineering, constructing, rehabilitating, or replacing small structures according to additional provisions of HB1259. A method is needed to enable the Department of Revenue to allocate the first $3 million in a manner that most effectively addresses the collective needs of counties and townships. Although HB1259 specifies distribution among counties on a pro rata basis, it does not specify what the rate is to be based upon. Many possibilities exist—including equal amounts to each county, amounts based on each county’s proportion of statewide township and county secondary road mileage, amounts based on estimated numbers of small structures (actual numbers are not yet known), and others. To ensure that small structure inventories meet the requirements of HB1259 and support ongoing development of small structure improvement plans, counties and townships need guidance regarding inventory content, format, and collection procedures. Such guidance will encourage consistent, timely, and up-to-date surveys that inform local investment decisions and accurately represent small structure number, condition, and improvement needs across the state. Inventory procedures must be efficient, economical, and feasible for local agencies but must direct the full range of activities—from straightforward measurement of location and dimensions through formal condition assessment by qualified engineers—needed to evaluate the condition of the various types of small structures. The procedures must accommodate updating the inventory as small structures are removed, replaced, or repaired. Finally, guidance is needed to help local agencies meet the provisions of HB1259 concerning the award of funding for small structure improvements. To be eligible for grants from a county’s Rural Access Infrastructure Fund, applicants must develop improvement plans that identify small structure locations, dimensions, condition, and load restrictions and that describe proposed improvement projects. Counties must consider specific award criteria, including highway use, persons served, public safety, project cost, length of alternate routes, financial capabilities of the jurisdiction, and other factors. A concise, well-organized template would help local agencies prepare improvement plans that fully satisfy the requirements of HB1259 and support funding allocation decisions at the county level. The guidance should describe repair treatments applicable to township and county secondary structures and explain when and how they can be used effectively. Objectives are as follows: (1) Develop a practical process for conducting and maintaining consistent and objective small structure inventories that fulfill the stated and implied requirements of HB1259. (2) Develop a method for distributing funding to plan and complete small structure inventories in a manner that best addresses the collective needs of counties and townships. (3) Develop guidance, including a plan template and background technical information, for developing small structure improvement plans that meet the requirements of HB1259 and support sound allocation of Rural Access Infrastructure Funds.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $30000
    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

      South Dakota State University
      Brookings, SD  United States 
    • Managing Organizations:

      South Dakota Department of Transportation

      700 East Broadway Avenue
      Pierre, SD  United States  57501
    • Project Managers:

      Huft, Dave

    • Performing Organizations:

      Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

      South Dakota State University
      Brookings, SD  United States 
    • Principal Investigators:

      Hall, Dave

    • Start Date: 20210501
    • Expected Completion Date: 20221231
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01857539
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: South Dakota Department of Transportation
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Sep 13 2022 11:38AM