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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

No. Operating expenses are not eligible under this program and cannot be counted toward the total project cost in determining the local cost share. Eligible sources of local match include the following:

  • cash from non-government sources of that revenues from providing public transportation services;
  • revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions;
  • amounts received under a service agreement with a state or local social service agency or private social service organization;
  • revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; or
  • funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve; new capital; or allowable in-kind contributions.
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:

Readiness will vary depending on the elements of the project development process that are being modified or changed. Generally, a PIPP request for a waiver or modification will be submitted prior to the start of a project, but there may be circumstances later on in the process where funding mechanisms change or some other fundamental issue leads to requesting a waiver or modification under the PIPP.

Answer:

No.  Discounts on costs charged are not considered in-kind contributions and cannot be counted towards local match.  Discounts reduce the total project cost, which is used to calculate the federal and local shares.

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:

As with a waiver or modification request, an applicant may submit a preliminary application to pipp.fta@dot.gov and the appropriate FTA Regional Administrator.  An application is a short narrative that articulates the basic elements of the applicant's proposed use of PIPP and provides the basis for FTA to offer the applicant a preliminary assessment of the viability of potential experimental features. As the program matures and PIPP waivers or modifications are approved, FTA will also share with the applicant information about lessons learned from previous PIPP projects that may be relevant to the proposed project.

Answer:

Yes. VW settlement funds can be used for local match. However, applicants must provide documentation that the funds have been reserved and can be used for the project.

Answer:

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:

One request for a waiver or modification per phase of a project may be submitted, and a submission may include requests for waivers or modifications of more than one FTA requirement. Allowing a request for a waiver or modification for each phase of a project means a recipient may, for example, submit a request during the project development phase, a second request during the engineering phase, and a third request during construction.

FTA encourages applicants to include all requests for waiver or modification in one submission to streamline the waiver/modification request process.

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:

Each can be considered a separate project. However, it is up to the applicant whether to present multiple related activities as a single project or as multiple independent projects. For projects with multiple components, FTA encourages applicants to identify how the project can be scaled.

Answer:

An Early Development Agreement (EDA) is a document that is developed jointly between the project applicant and FTA. The EDA describes the parameters for implementing PIPP project waiver or modification requests. The EDA will identify the specific roles of all parties, define procedures, and establish timeframes and other conditions under which the project will be administered.

Answer:

Yes, but the waiver or modification requests must be limited to FTA requirements.

Answer:

Workforce development includes activities related to employment or education with a direct linkage to the capital project.  Examples include developing apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and instructional training for public transportation maintenance and operations occupations.  Refer to FTA’s website for additional information.

Answer:

Yes. A report is required one year after the completion of construction of a PIPP project. For projects that involve a private entity in the operations or maintenance of the project, a second report is required two years after the project begins revenue operations. Project sponsors will be responsible for submitting an independently prepared report that summarizes lessons learned from implementation of approved waiver or modification requests and from the PIPP process. These reports will evaluate the success of the process, its overall impact on the project, and recommend whether the waivers or modifications should be made routine through statutory or regulatory changes. The report should include an explanation of how the changes improved the delivery of the project.

Answer:

No. School buses are not eligible.

Answer:

Planning studies are not eligible.

Answer:

Please visit FTA’s Private Sector Participation website.

For any additional questions:

  • For program matters, contact Tom Yedinak, Private Sector Liaison, Office of Budget and Policy, (202) 366-5137, Tom.Yedinak@dot.gov 
  • For legal matters, contact Bonnie Graves, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-4011 or Bonnie.Graves@dot.gov
Answer:

Workforce development match for CAA and ADA projects is still 80% federal, 20% local.

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