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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer:

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Final Rule on Private Investment Project Procedures (PIPP) establishes procedures that allow recipients of FTA funds to identify perceived impediments to the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) and private investment in public transportation capital projects either proposed or under construction and in the State Transportation Improvement Program, and seek a waiver or modification of such impediments.

Answer:

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Emergency Relief (ER) Program is authorized by Congress and enables FTA to reimburse public transit operators in the aftermath of an emergency or major disaster to help pay for protecting, repairing, or replacing equipment and facilities that may suffer or have suffered serious damage. The program also funds the operating costs of evacuation, rescue operations, or temporary public transportation service during or after an emergency.

Under the ER Program, FTA may make grants for capital projects to protect, repair, or replace damaged assets, and for operating expenses incurred while responding to a declared emergency or major disaster.

Answer:

The PIPP is intended to establish a streamlined process that allows project sponsors to seek modifications of Federal requirements in order to:

  • Accelerate the project development process;
  • Attract private investment;
  • Increase project management flexibility; and
  • Lead to more innovation, improved efficiency, and/or new revenue streams.
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:

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:

An eligible project is one that will test an innovative project delivery technique that is prohibited by current FTA regulations or FTA policy. A PIPP waiver request cannot be used to modify environmental and other statutory requirements required by Chapter 53 of title 49 of the United States Code, including requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The waiver request must demonstrate that if approved, will advance the goals of the PIPP. FTA encourages applicants to discuss potential waiver requests with FTA’s private sector liaison or the relevant FTA Regional Office prior to applying.

Answer:

An applicant may submit a request for a waiver to the dedicated FTA e-mail address: pipp.fta@dot.gov, with a copy sent to the appropriate FTA Regional Office. FTA staff will coordinate the review of the request with the PIPP Steering Committee and the Regional Administrator. The FTA Administrator will notify the grant recipient in writing as to whether the request for modification or waiver is approved or denied.

If an application is approved, FTA will negotiate an Early Development Agreement (EDA) with the project sponsor to establish the parameters of the approved application.

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:

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:

The waiver request is the formal documentation of an applicant’s request for the use of an experimental procedure in the project development process.

The request must include the following information for it to be considered complete and reviewed by FTA:

  1.   Provide a brief project description.
  2.   Identify whether the project is to be delivered as a public-private partnership, as a joint development, or with another private sector investment.
  3.   Describe in detail the role of the private sector investor, if any, in delivering the project.
  4.   Identify the specific FTA requirement(s) that the recipient requests to have modified or waived and a proposal as to how the requirement(s) should be modified.
  5.   Provide a justification for the modification(s) or waiver(s), including an explanation of how the FTA requirement(s) presents an impediment to a public-private partnership, joint development, or other private sector investment.
  6.   Explain how the public interest and public investment in the project will be protected and how FTA can ensure the appropriate level of public oversight and control, as determined by the FTA Administrator, is undertaken if the modification(s) or waiver(s) is allowed.
  7.   Provide other recipients’ concurrence with the submission of the application and waiver of the right to submit a separate application for the same project, where a project has more than one recipient at the time of application.
  8.   Provide a financial plan identifying sources and uses of funds proposed or committed to the project.
  9.   Explain the expected benefits that the modification or waiver of FTA requirements would provide to mitigate impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in the project.
Answer:

Funds allocated for response, recovery, and rebuilding may be used for eligible expenses according to statute and FTA regulation, including:

  • Repair / replacement of damaged or destroyed assets to a state of good repair;
  • Emergency operating expenses for evacuations, temporary emergency service, disaster preparation, and temporary repairs/protective measures.

Funds allocated for resilience projects may be spent on capital projects that are designed and built specifically to address existing and future vulnerabilities to damages from disasters. Please see FTA’s Emergency Relief Manual for further detail.

Answer:

PIPP waiver requests will be reviewed by FTA based on the following criteria:

  1. Are the proposed waiver requests from project sponsors prohibited under current policies and procedures?
  2. Does the waiver request extend beyond procurement issues covered by the PIPP?
  3. Is the requested waiver limited to policies and procedures covered by Chapter 53 of title 49 (Federal public transportation law)?
  4. Will an approved waiver request improve the delivery time, quality, and/or cost of the project?
  5. Will an approved waiver influence future Federal public transportation policy and procedures?
  6. Is there a plan by the project sponsor for evaluating how the features of the waiver will contribute to the overall success of the project?

If features in the waiver request are prohibited under current law or policy or if the waiver concerns a law or policy outside of Chapter 53 of title 49, then the project is not considered a candidate for a waiver under the PIPP process.

The overall intent of the PIPP is to foster innovation and explore the full range of opportunities to make the project delivery process more efficient. Any proposals that meet this intent and are consistent with the criteria noted above will be given strong consideration.

Answer:

This will vary depending on the complexity of the waiver request and the project. FTA will strive to respond to complete applications within 60 days. If FTA determines an application is incomplete or has questions, FTA will not wait 60 days to respond, but will notify the applicant as soon as it makes that determination.

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’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 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 under the PIPP.

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 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:

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 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 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 into one submission to streamline the waiver request process.

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