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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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An applicant must use the pdf supplemental form that is provided at Grants.gov or on FTA’s website. Other formats will not be accepted.

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An applicant must use the pdf supplemental form that is provided at Grants.gov or on FTA’s website. Other formats will not be accepted.

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Sure.  We are always looking for transit system experts who have a desire to share their important knowledge with others in the industry.  Contact Ruth Lyons.

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No. Local priority resilience funds cannot be used to design projects that will be submitted as part of the competitive process.However, the grantee has the following options for paying for these costs:
FTA will extend pre-award authority for environmental work (to comply with NEPA) and design costs for these activities, permitting them to be eligible for reimbursement OR count towards your local match if the competitive resiliency project is selected.
A grantee can use their FTA formula funds such as the Section 5307 funds to pay for these costs.

Answer:

In most cases, yes.
If a joint development involves the use of property previously acquired with the assistance of an FTA award for which the period of performance has ended, the project sponsor can use the revenue as program income and apply it to any transit capital or operating expense, or as local match for any FTA capital grant.
If FTA is funding the joint development through a new award or the joint development uses property recently acquired with the assistance of an FTA award for which the period of performance has not ended, the revenue a project sponsor earns during the period of performance of the award is treated as “program income,” as defined in FTA C 5010.1E. Program income may be used towards eligible transit capital or operating expenses, or as local match for a future FTA award. However, program income may not be used as local match for the same award from which it was earned, or the award that assisted the joint development project.
For more on this, see “Program Income” in FTA C 5010.1E.

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No.  Local funds used to match FTA funds may be spent only on eligible expenses. 

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Yes.  FTA permits a single lump sum payment at the inception of the lease rather than periodic payments during the life of the lease.  Applicants requesting funds for a lump sum payment for a multi-year lease should discuss the strategy to ensure satisfactory continuing control of the battery in the application.  Once the award is made, the recipient must contact their FTA Regional Office to verify the information in the application.

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No. Resilience projects must be designed to reduce damages and losses from extreme weather events and other disasters, not to protect assets from exposure to typical weather patterns and other environmental factors. If a project protects against a disaster, but also provides benefits in typical conditions, the application may present these and other ongoing benefits as reduced operations and maintenance costs over the project’s lifespan.

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States and other eligible applicants may submit consolidated proposals for projects in urbanized areas. Proposals may contain projects to be implemented by recipients or sub-recipients. If a single project proposal involves multiple providers, the proposal must include a detailed statement regarding the role of each provider in implementing the project.

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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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Yes, based on the period of availability, FY 13 grant funds can be obligated through September 30, 2015 and FY 14 grant funds through September 30, 2016. FTA, however, encourages you to submit as soon as you possibly can, to ensure that your state's program, and the rail transit agency's safety oversight, receives the benefits of federal funding.

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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.

Answer:

For projects that FTA determines require an EJ analysis (i.e., those for which impacts rise above a certain threshold such that there is a potential for EJ impacts), a qualitative assessment alone is not sufficient to demonstrate that a proposed investment (strategy) would not have a disproportionately high and adverse impact. Any qualitative assessment should be accompanied by complementary quantitative analysis. No single analysis activity tells the entire story. FTA encourages grantees to use a variety of tools to develop a more realistic understanding of the benefits and burdens of the transportation system and any disproportionately high and adverse impacts on EJ populations. Data collection to get to know one’s community, to articulate needs and priorities, and to consider possible impacts should be corroborated through the public involvement process. Analytical tools are an important component for creating a baseline to work from, to inform decision-making, and to monitor progress over time.

Answer:

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. 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.

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No. School buses are not eligible.

Answer:

Yes. Expenditures for equipment that is directly related to the SSO program are allowable. Such equipment may include, for example, two-way radios, cellular phones, digital cameras, accident investigation kits, electronic tablets, personal protective equipment, as well as office equipment, including computers, servers, printers, and other durable goods or equipment. Items with a unit cost of $5000 or more must have prior FTA approval. If equipment is shared with non-SSO functions, please follow 2 C.F.R. Part 225 for guidance on how to calculate the appropriate reimbursement amount for the equipment’s use in support of SSO activities.

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