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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer:

Repair or replacement of an asset that sustained damage or was destroyed after Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria due to the storms weakening or compromising the asset’s structure may be an eligible project if the applicant documents that it made all reasonable attempts to protect and safeguard the asset in the immediate aftermath of the storms to prevent additional waste or loss.

Answer:

When made available for transportation purposes, CDBG funds may be used as the local match for FTA ER funds. HUD has received a supplemental appropriation of CDBG Disaster Relief funds and has awarded those funds to Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the US Virgin Islands. Restoration of infrastructure is an eligible use of such funds. For more information on HUD’s awards, please see HUD’s notice of allocation here. For information on the availability of CDBG funds, please contact the recipients of the CDBG funds, listed here.

Answer:

Yes. Funding was made available for “transit systems affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria with major disaster declarations in 2017.”  As such, any transit agency within the Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria declared disaster areas may receive resilience funding regardless of whether it received recovery funding as long as the State or Territory responsible for sub-allocating the resilience funding selects such a project for funding and that the transit agency can affirm it was affected by the storms.

Answer:

FTA’s ER program functions on a reimbursement basis. The allocation specifies the maximum amount currently available to each State/Territory/jurisdiction based primarily on their proportionate share of emergency expenses and damages to their public transportation assets and infrastructure arising from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

For recovery projects, FTA staff worked closely with transit officials in the affected regions ahead of the hurricanes’ landfall to advise them of ER program requirements and ensure they had the knowledge and resources in place to carefully track emergency expenditures for potential reimbursement.  For resilience projects, specifically, to receive FTA ER funding, the State or Territory must also prepare a program of projects and submit it to FTA for advance review and approval before moving forward with expenditures.

As grants applications are developed, FTA will review the proposed activities to ensure they are only used for eligible purposes and are in compliance with all applicable Federal requirements.  FTA will also include special grant conditions for all Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria Emergency Relief funds.

Once projects are awarded in grants, recipients are required to submit Federal Financial Reports and Milestone Progress Reports to FTA to provide information about the status of the projects.  FTA will also undertake additional oversight, including Triennial Reviews and State Management Reviews and other reviews as necessary.

For resilience projects, specifically to receive FTA ER funding, the State or Territory must prepare a program of projects and submit it to FTA for advance review and approval before moving forward with expenditures.

Answer:

FTA is allocating funding in this notice for response, recovery, and rebuilding ($232.308 million) based on emergency operations costs and detailed damage assessments submitted by affected agencies that were prepared and verified in cooperation with FTA and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Allocations for resilience ($44.2 million) are based first on a $5 million base allocation to each State or territory with at least $1 million in damages, with the remaining $24.2 million distributed proportionally according to damage assessments.

Answer:

Each State and Territory allocated resilience funds may determine which resilience projects to fund within the declared disaster areas of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  The State or Territory must submit a resilience program of projects (POP) to FTA for review for program eligibility and approval. FTA will provide a POP template with detailed instructions. You should work with the agency allocated resilience funds to determine how resilience projects will be selected for submission to FTA.

Once a resilience POP is approved, States and Territories may apply for funds on behalf of subrecipients with approved resilience projects. Any FTA direct recipients that are project sponsors for a project on an approved resilience POP may apply for the resilience funds directly in TrAMS.

Answer:

Pre-award authority is available for storm-related expenses beginning on the date disaster preparations began in response to forecasts specific to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Per 49 CFR 602.11, FTA may approve pre-award authority for projects and expenses that alleviate damage caused during an incident period as defined by FEMA or in anticipation of that incident. When claiming storm-related preparation expenses prior to the arrival of the storm, the grant applicant should include a brief statement that explains the storm-related information they had, when they had it, and the activities/expenses incurred in response to that information. In areas affected by both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, the applicant must note which storm the emergency operations were in response to.

Answer:

FTA has been working closely with grantees in the storms’ aftermath and has utilized in-house staff and expert contractor support to help conduct and verify the damage assessments that form the basis for reimbursement requests.

To receive FTA ER funding, grantees must comply with ER program requirements as documented in the FTA Emergency Relief Program Final Rule and further explained in the Emergency Relief Manual, and must provide FTA with appropriate documentation in advance of any Federal funds being disbursed.

In addition to FTA’s standard oversight of grantees, FTA reserves the right to conduct more frequent and/or specific assessments as needed.

Answer:

A full breakdown of the Allocations by Transit Operator – such as a State DOT, county, city, or local/regional transit agency.

Note: Only allocations exceeding $25,000 are being published today, though agencies whose costs are lower than that amount remain eligible for reimbursement as well.

Answer:

Documentation for increased emergency operations costs should be consistent with the requirements described in 83 FR 25104 section II.A and 49 CFR 602.17. Such documentation should include:

  • Type and description of emergency operations service, including the storm name and number of people transported (if applicable)
  • Dates and hours of emergency service
  • Number and type of vehicles utilized
  • Total fare revenues collected (if any) during emergency operations
  • Payroll summaries for staff during emergency operations period
  • Applicable contracts for purchased transportation or other services and materials

Documentation for increased costs for capital projects should include a detailed description of the increased costs, specifying what has changed since the last cost estimate. The description of the increased cost should include the information required by the Emergency Relief Rule at 49 CFR 602.17 and the FTA Emergency Relief Manual section 4.1.2 (Preliminary Field Survey and Damage Assessment Report sub-sections). Any engineering costs required to provide a cost estimate are an eligible ER expense if the costs are allocable to a project that is determined to be eligible under the ER program.

If the increase in cost will not result in a request for funding greater than the amounts allocated, the documentation described above may be included in the grant application.

If the total amount of funding to be requested will exceed the amounts published in Federal Register notice 83 FR 25104, the documentation noted above must be sent to FTA in writing prior to including those costs in a grant application.

Approval of additional allocations may be dependent on availability of funding and other factors to be determined. FTA does not currently have a timeline for the allocation of the remaining emergency relief funding currently held in reserve. FTA will continue to monitor the pace of obligations and disbursements of ER funding allocated to date, as well as any changes to the estimated cost of recovery projects.

Answer:

Yes! Any transit agency impacted by these hurricanes that is an FTA direct recipient, State, or Territory may apply for Emergency Relief funding even if it is not listed as receiving an allocation. If your agency is a subrecipient to another organization that receives FTA funding, you can apply through that organization. Contact your FTA regional office for more information.

Answer:

If the facility was destroyed and is being moved because rebuilding on the existing site is not practical or feasible, the project would be awarded a 90% Federal share as a recovery project. If the facility is at risk of future damage but did not sustain significant damage during a storm, the relocation project would likely need to be selected by the State or Territory allocated resilience funding and would be awarded an 80% Federal share as a resilience project. Each project is different and it is recommended that you discuss the specifics of your project with your FTA regional office.

Answer:

The Office of Management and Budget requires that all Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria FTA ER funds be expended within 24 months of grant obligation. FTA has submitted a waiver for this requirement. If the waiver is granted, FTA will conduct an administrative amendment to remove the requirement on any grants already awarded with the 24-month expenditure requirement as a grant condition.

Answer:

No, although it is recommended that affected transit agencies submit their applications as soon as reasonably possible. Contact your FTA regional office for help getting started.

Answer:

Yes. The projects must have been completed according to all applicable requirements, but because pre-award authority has been extended back to the date on which preparations for the storms began, repair projects that have already been completed are eligible for reimbursement.

Answer:

Congress appropriated $330 million for FTA’s Emergency Relief Program in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123), signed into law on February 9, 2018.

Answer:

FTA decided to set aside $50 million of the overall $330 million appropriation for latent damages and other emergency-related expenses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria that may arise in the future.

Answer:

FTA has allocated ER funding to address 100% of the cost of emergency operations incurred for up to 270 days from the date of disaster declaration, and for 90% of the cost of permanent repairs. Grantees are required to provide local funds for 10% of the reported estimated cost of permanent repairs.

Answer:

The bulk of the appropriation, $277.525 million, is being allocated today to Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands for response, recovery, rebuilding, and resiliency projects. It is standard practice for FTA Emergency Relief Program funds to be delivered in multiple allocations, to allow affected grantees appropriate time to evaluate their needs and to assess damages.

As authorized by the appropriating legislation, a small amount of the funding ($2.475 million) will go toward administrative and oversight expenses.

Answer:

Pursuant to Federal Register notice 83 FR 25108 section I.H, “the use of TDCs means that no local funds will be required for projects in the grant, and that the funds allocated by FTA may not alone be sufficient to fund the entirety of the proposed Emergency Relief projects. FTA will not allocate additional Federal funds to recipients that use TDCs in place of the non-Federal share, so sufficient alternative funds may need to be located to fully finance projects utilizing TDCs.”

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