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Are There Particular Considerations for Including Resiliency Projects Funded Under FTA’s ERP In a TIP/STIP?

As the specific purpose of a resiliency project is to add protective features to existing infrastructure to minimize damage from future emergencies or major disasters, a resiliency project typically includes a “substantial functional, location or capacity change." As such, FTA expects project sponsors to ensure such resiliency projects are included or appropriately referenced in the MPO’s metropolitan transportation plan as well as the TIP and STIP prior to incurring costs. Please reference FHWA and FTA’s joint planning rule (23 CFR 450.324) for TIP/STIP requirements. Project sponsors are also reminded they must comply with other applicable pre-award requirements (unless specifically waived), before incurring costs for these projects.

While 23 CFR 450.324 contains an exception for "emergency relief projects" that do not involve substantial functional, locational, or capacity changes be included in the TIP/STIP, FTA does not expect resiliency projects, particularly those funded from the local priority resiliency allocations and future competitive resiliency allocations, to qualify for the reason noted above and given most are not "emergency" in nature.

However, there may be some integrated resiliency elements or projects specifically tied to a recovery project and funded from a grantee's recovery allocation that do not include "substantial functional, location, or capacity changes". Project sponsors should review the additional planning FAQs for more information about this exception and the process for certifying if a project qualifies. What appropriate funding assumptions can be made to include projects funded under FTA’s Emergency Relief Program (ERP) in a TIP/STIP? Per FHWA/FTA’s joint planning rule, a project must be fully funded from “reasonably anticipated” fund sources to be included in the TIP/STIP. To meet the requirement of anticipated full funding, sponsors of ERP projects must identify all the funding sources for the ERP project including the federal funds that FTA has allocated from the ERP to individual project, any required non-federal match plus any other funds required to meet the total cost of the project. Project sponsors should not assume the availability of ERP funds for a specific project if Congress has not appropriated those funds to the ERP, or if FTA has not specifically allocated ERP funds to the specific project. Projects that have been allocated ERP funds from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act by the Notice of Availability published May 29, 2013 can assume the ERP funds to be “reasonably available” to the project so that the project can be included in the TIP/STIP.

However, project sponsors cannot assume that any future funds that have not yet been allocated, particularly those that may be awarded on a competitive basis, are “ reasonably anticipated to be available” until FTA makes an allocation to a project. Once FTA makes an allocation, the project sponsor should work with the MPO and/or State to amend the TIP/STIP to include the ERP project, identifying all federal and other funds required to meet the full cost of the project. Project sponsors are urged to work closely with the MPO and States early to understand and plan for any TIP/STIP amendment procedures for project inclusion once FTA has allocated ERP funds. If my agency has incurred eligibility expenses, recovery and/or resiliency, in advance of having the project programmed in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Statewide Improvement Program (STIP), can they be reimbursed from my pro-rated allocations for recovery and local priority resiliency? It depends. Some grantees, in preparation for the 2013 hurricane season, have incurred costs on local recovery and resiliency projects prior to those projects being included in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) or the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Inclusion in the TIP/STIP is a requirement for pre-award authority. Given the short time frame for completing these projects, FTA has determined that it will reimburse costs incurred for recovery and approved resiliency projects if those projects are in the TIP/STIP by November 1, 2013. However, grantees are reminded that the planning requirement is just one of the pre-award requirements. In order to be eligible for reimbursement, the project must have met other applicable federal requirements (e.g. NEPA, procurement) or had a waiver in place. Resiliency projects also require FTA approval prior to incurring costs to confirm eligibility.

Beyond November 1, the agency will need to determine if we will permit reimbursement of costs incurred that were not in compliance with the planning rule.

FTA also already published guidance in a previous Q&A about exceptions that may apply to recovery projects that do not involve substantial functional, locational, or capacity changes. If you have a recovery project that may qualify for this exception to the planning rule (23 CFR 450.324), please submit the request in writing to the FTA Sandy Office. (here)

Updated: Friday, June 9, 2017
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