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Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG) Recipients Announced This Week

For Immediate Release: Friday, Feb. 25, 2022

Contact: Doug Kinniburgh, Local Government Assistance, 605-773-4284

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Transportation Commission awarded 39 preservation, rehabilitation, and replacement Bridge Improvement Grants (BIG) totaling approximately $23 million at the recent commission meeting held in Pierre.

Grant recipients include the city of Sioux Falls (2); and the counties of Aurora (2), Beadle (3), Brookings (2), Clark (1), Corson (1), Day (3), Deuel (1), Grant (1), Gregory (1), Haakon (1), Hanson (1), Hughes (1), Kingsbury (1), Lake (1), Lawrence (1), Lincoln (1), McCook (1), Minnehaha (1), Pennington (6), Sanborn (1), Tripp (2), Union (3), and Yankton (1).

“The BIG program continues to be very popular for the necessary preservation, rehabilitation, and replacement of local government structures,” said Joel Jundt, Secretary of Transportation. “The DOT commends the Transportation Commission for their continued commitment to provide state funding for this vital local government program. The goal is to enhance the overall condition of these critical assets that South Dakotans are dependent upon each and every day. These structures provide the link that drives the interconnectedness of our state’s overall transportation system; while enhancing statewide economic development overall.”

Fifty-two applications totaling $42.9 million in total project costs were received by the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT). In total, one city submitted two applications and 27 counties submitted 50 applications.

The Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG) program was created by the 2015 legislative session in Senate Bill 1 (SB 1). SB 1 states that in order to be eligible for a BIG grant, a county must impose a wheel tax. In addition, a county must have a County Highway and Bridge Improvement Plan to detail proposed county highway and bridge improvement projects within the county for the next five years. Cities are not required to have a transportation plan, and they do not have statutory authority to establish a wheel tax.

The Transportation Commission was tasked with creating administrative rules regarding the application process and timelines, the guidelines and criteria for approval of applications, and the distribution of funds from the local BIG fund. The Transportation Commission was also tasked with developing the administrative rules for the plans. The rules are to provide the format of the plan and the time by which an update of the plan must be submitted.

SB 1 dedicated $7 million per year for the BIG funds. This money comes from the license plate fees and from non-commercial vehicle fees. In addition, SDDOT annually sets aside $8 million per year of state gas tax funds, for a total of $15 million available for the BIG grants. This year, the Transportation Commission awarded approximately $1.5 million in preliminary engineering (PE) grants, increased the available funding by $7.5 million, reallocated approximately $2.25 million from closed projects for a total allocation of $24.75 million.

The $24.75 million total represents the amount allocated within this grant cycle, which began last fall with preliminary engineering (PE) grants. To date, the BIG program has awarded $101.2 million in grants to local governments including the allocations made this year.

Local governments are required to pay a minimum of 20 percent matching funds; and have three years to expend the grant award.

Application Deadline:  Applications for the next round of the BIG program are due Aug. 1, 2022, for the Preliminary Engineering (PE) category.

Contact:  For more information regarding the BIG program, contact Doug Kinniburgh at 605-773-4284 or visit

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