Nothing in the SRTS federal guidelines states that schools must be within the boundaries of a city in order to receive the funds from the federal Safe Routes to School program. The federal guidance provides guidelines for how the states can spend the federal funds. Each state can place additional restrictions on the funds as long as they fit within the federal guidance. To learn more about your state's programs, we recommend you contact the SRTS Coordinator within your state DOT.
According to the federal guidance, "infrastructure projects, public funds must be spent on projects within the public right of way. This may include projects on private land that have public access easements. Public property includes lands that are owned by a public entity, including those lands owned by public school districts. Construction and capital improvement projects also must be located within approximately two miles of a primary or middle school (grades K - 8). Schools with grades that extend higher than grade 8, but which include grades that fall within the eligible range, are eligible to receive infrastructure improvementsfor infrastructure improvements."
Typically if you are seeking funds for making infrastructure improvements you will need to identify a government entity that is capable and has the authority to build in the public right of way. In a municipality, this is often the public works department or transportation planning department. If you are not located within a city, you will need to determine who controls the roadway and/or land where the improvements will be installed. Your SRTS Coordinator can help you with these details.