Nearly $14 million has been awarded for 21 projects that include an interstate interchange and bridge and street improvements, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization announced today. The grants were approved by the MPO Policy Committee on April 15. MPO staff scored the projects on how well they meet regional performance measures established in the Mobilizing Tomorrow plan. Public input was also considered in determining the grant awards, according to a news release from the MPO. The grants are funded through the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and the Surface Transportation Block Grant Set-Aside Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and administered by the MPO. The grants also support new buses for the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, trail improvements throughout the metro and Polk County, and Safe Routes to School projects in Norwalk and Waukee. “This has been another great cycle of grant awards,” Joe Gatto, Des Moines City Council member and chair of the MPO Policy Committee, said in a news release. “The region continues working together to build a regional transportation network with options for all residents.”