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Frequently Asked Questions

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For all eligible force account and operating expenses, FTA will pay both straight and overtime labor costs.

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No. ER funds may not be used to reimburse contractors for stopped work as a result of a disaster. However, expenses incurred by the contractor for implementing protective measures that protected assets owned by the transit agency would be considered eligible.

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Yes, however each state administers its own HMGP funds and determines how those funds are spent, in accordance with FEMA requirements.

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No. However, if a transit agency allocates project management or oversight staff time to an otherwise eligible ER project, that time would be an eligible expense for that project.

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Under the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement between FEMA and FTA, if and when FTA has funding available after a disaster for emergency relief, FTA will be the primary provider of transit-related emergency relief.

Due to the timing of FTA’s Emergency Relief funding becoming available, some transit agencies may have already received reimbursement for hurricane related expenses from FEMA. These reimbursements are allowable under the terms of the FTA-FEMA agreement, however, any expenses previously reimbursed by FEMA are not eligible for assistance under FTA’s ER program.

If a transit agency has disaster expenses under review by FEMA that have not yet been reimbursed , these must be transferred to FTA’s ER program. This includes expenses that have already been submitted to FEMA but have not yet been disbursed.

If a transit agency provided services that are not eligible under the FTA ER program, such as providing emergency shelter or meals to evacuees, the transit agency may seek reimbursement for those expenses from FEMA subject to all applicable FEMA requirements. If the transit agency also provided services eligible under FTA’s ER program, the transit agency may receive funds from both FTA and FEMA.

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ER funds allocated to repair damage to a facility may be used for another eligible project at the discretion of the grant recipient. However, the purchase or construction of a new replacement facility is only eligible if the damaged facility for which funds are allocated is not repairable and must be rebuilt.

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No. Please see section 4.2.2 “Federal/Local Cost Sharing” in FTA’s Emergency Relief Manual for additional details on matching funds.

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ER funds cannot be used for projects for which FTA has already obligated funds. For example, if FTA has obligated funding to replace a piece of equipment but before the equipment is replaced it is damaged or destroyed during a disaster, ER funds cannot be used to replace that piece of equipment at a greater Federal share. The previously obligated grant and its corresponding Federal share must be utilized.

However, if a project with an obligated grant is under construction and is damaged, any additional expense to repair the damage may be eligible under the ER program, depending on the type of project, the type of damage, and what entity was responsible for the project at the time of the storm.

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No. The only Federal funds that can be used in place of local share for the FTA Emergency Relief Program are funds, which by statute lose their federal identity and can be used as match for other Federal programs, such as Community Development Block Grant funds.

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Yes. Many disaster recovery projects will involve changes and improvements to damaged assets that will increase resilience to future disasters. In cases where the improvements are functionally integrated with the recovery project, these improvements may be conducted with recovery funding. This includes improvements to comply with building codes, FEMA flood elevations, relocating equipment within a structure, and similar improvements. Resilience improvements that are associated with, but not integrated into a recovery project must be completed with dedicated resilience funding. This includes additions to existing structures such as flood barriers, backup power units, new drainage systems, and similar projects. When a project involves both functionally integrated resilience improvements and new resilience elements, FTA recommends submitting activities that will use both recovery and resilience funding as separate projects within the grant to ensure the requirements associated with each funding type are applied and tracked properly.

Answer:

Yes. FTA ER funding can be awarded in advance of an expected insurance settlement. If/when an insurance settlement is received, the grant must be amended. Please see sections 4.3.2 “Treatment of Insurance Proceeds” and 4.3.3 “Policy on Unallocated Insurance Proceeds” in FTA’s Emergency Relief Manual for details and examples.

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Project administration costs are considered to be those necessary and reasonable administrative costs associated with the implementation of specific FTA approved capital project activities. Such costs may be direct or indirect. Direct costs must be supported with documentation to show the nature and amount of cost including time and attendance records for actual staff time charged to the activity. Indirect costs must be supported with a federally approved indirect cost allocation plan. Project administration costs should be budgeted separately or included in related capital activity line item budgets. Project administration costs are funded as capital costs. While project administration is an eligible capital cost, general program administration is not.Project team resources may be funded up to a reasonable amount, which generally does not exceed 10 percent of the total capital costs of the project.

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Yes. Recovery funds can be used to repair a facility with materials or features that are more resilient than the original facility if those materials or features are integral to the repair of the facility (not functionally independent) and cost effective. For example, elevating communications cables when replacing cables destroyed during a storm or using a stronger roofing material to replace a roof blown off by the storms may be eligible as recovery expenses. Features that are functionally independent, such as a sea wall around a facility, are not eligible under the recovery and rebuilding allocations and would need to be funded through the resilience allocation.

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Yes. At the applicant’s discretion, FEMA’s Schedule of Equipment Rates may be used to calculate the cost of the use FTA ER funding applicant owned equipment in good mechanical condition, complete with all required attachments.

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No. The transit provider may receive ER funds for emergency protective measures (such as additional security personnel), temporary repairs, and permanent repairs that address the security vulnerability. Reimbursement for property intentionally damaged or stolen is not an eligible expense under the ER program.

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Yes. Unless a resilience funding recipient is granted a waiver, all standard planning and grant requirements apply to projects funded through the resilience allocations.

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Since pre-award authority has been granted retroactively to the date on which preparations for the storms began, you should enter into TrAMS the actual dates milestones were accomplished, even if they are before the Award Start Date. If all activity associated with the grant has been completed, enter an Award End Date six months after the Award Start Date to allow time for the grant to be processed and funds to be disbursed.

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As authorized by Congress, upon appropriation of Emergency Relief funds FTA has primary responsibility for reimbursing emergency response and recovery costs after an emergency or major disaster that affects public transportation systems. FTA works closely with FEMA and grantees to make sure that FTA ER funds do not go toward expenses that have already been reimbursed by any other Federal agency.

Answer:

Subrecipients should coordinate with their FTA pass-through entity, who must apply for ER funds on their behalf. The same documentation required of FTA direct recipients is required of pass-through entities applying for ER funds on behalf of subrecipients. Pass-through entities must ensure that its subrecipients comply with all ER requirements.

Answer:

A temporary repair of a facility is unlikely to affect the useful life of a facility. A permanent repair may extend the useful life, depending on the type of repair. Determinations on if and how a repair affects the useful life of a facility will be made on a case-by-case basis and will be indicated in the grant agreement. Considerations will include the remaining useful life of the facility before the storms, the extent of the repairs, and whether the repairs include any resilience features or other improvements.

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