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Emergency Relief Program FAQs

To view a set of frequently asked questions, select a topic and category based on your interest area. Perform a word search or choose a topic from the list.

Answer:

Applicants should indicate when a resilience project can be undertaken either in multiple phases or multiple independent elements, provided that each phase or element can be completed independently and will serve to make the transportation system more resilient. If funding is not available for an entire project, FTA may consider awarding funds for one or more scalable project phases or elements. Applicants should identify the proposed scope and reduced funding amount for each scalable alternative, and must complete a separate HMCE analysis for each alternative.

Answer:

If an applicant believes the FTA HMCE analysis tool does not capture all of the resilience benefits of a proposed project, the applicant should provide additional information in the qualitative benefits section of the HMCE tool, which is located beneath the projects apparent benefit cost ratio (BCR). Other benefits may also be quantified by an applicant and submitted separately, however, in such a case the applicant must submit a highly detailed explanation of how and why the alternative analysis differs from the HMCE tool. FTA will carefully scrutinize the justification, as well as the procedures and methodology provided together with the results of the HMCE tool.

Answer:

The slides and training guides from these presentations can be found on FTA’s emergency relief website. Please contact us at FTASandyResilience@dot.gov if you are interested in obtaining a recording of the webinars.

Answer:

FTA has the discretion to permit a recipient to use Section 5324 Emergency Relief Program funds to support a limited competition procurement.

Pursuant to FTA’s authorizing statute at 49 U.S.C. § 5325(a), an FTA recipient is required to use FTA funds to support project activities using full and open competition. A recipient may conduct a sole source procurement in very limited circumstances under the Common Grant Rule at 49 C.F.R. Part 18.36. A recipient does not have explicit authority, by law, to conduct a limited competition procurement.

Notwithstanding this framework, FTA has the discretionary authority under 49 C.F.R. Part 601, Subpart D to waive its requirements through the Emergency Relief Docket in cases involving national or regional emergencies and disasters. Given this authority, FTA will entertain requests for emergency relief waivers from FTA’s full and open competition requirement, and FTA will consider requests to approve limited competition procurements. To be clear, a request for a waiver is not a guarantee of a waiver. FTA maintains the discretion to grant or deny a waiver request.

If a recipient is interested in pursuing a limited competition procurement, then it must obtain an emergency relief waiver of FTA’s full and open competition requirement pursuant to 49 C.F.R. Part 601, Subpart D and FTA’s Federal Register Notice of Establishment of Emergency Relief Docket for Calendar Year 2013 dated February 15, 2013 (available at www.regulations.gov, docket number FTA-2013-0001). A request for a waiver should be addressed to the Administrator, and it should contain a compelling justification and any relevant supporting documentation as to why a waiver should be granted. The recipient should upload its request into the Emergency Relief Docket. FTA will process the request in accordance with 49 C.F.R. Part 601, Subpart D. A recipient may not award a limited competition contract supported by Section 5324 Emergency Relief Program funds prior to FTA’s written approval.

FTA strongly recommends that recipients submit requests for waivers as early as practicable in the procurement process. A recipient should submit such a request at the time it determines the best strategy is a limited competition procurement. Recipients should not assume that waiver requests will be granted.

Answer:

While FTA may permit a recipient to use of a sole source method of procurement for a project supported by Emergency Relief Program funds, the recipient must seek and obtain FTA’s approval in writing. FTA will only permit a recipient to use Section 5324 Emergency Relief Program funds to support a sole source procurement, if the recipient articulates compelling written justification for the sole source procurement consistent with the Common Grant Rule, FTA’s Third Party Contracting Guidance Circular 4220.1F, and FTA’s Best Practices Procurement Manual.

Recipients must send a written request for approval to the appropriate Regional Office POC, and the recipient must provide compelling justification and any relevant supporting documentation for the sole source procurement, consistent with applicable law. FTA will review the request and if FTA agrees with the request, FTA will require the grantee to attach the sole source justification in TEAM, and the award of the grant will serve as the approval. For grants already awarded, FTA will document its approval of the request in writing (e.g. email), and FTA will require the grantee to attach the sole source justification in TEAM. The recipient is at risk for any sole source contract commitments made prior to receiving FTA’s approval. FTA reserves the right to review any project-related documentation at any time during project development.

FTA strongly recommends that recipients submit requests for approvals of sole source procurements as early as practicable in the procurement process. Recipients should not assume that requests for approvals of sole source procurements will be granted. If a recipient has not articulated a compelling justification for a sole source procurement consistent with the Common Grant Rule, FTA may require the recipient to submit a request to waive the full and open procurement requirements through FTA’s Emergency Relief Docket (available at www.regulations.gov, docket number FTA-2013-0001).

Answer:

Yes, FTA is preparing to publish an official notice of public transportation resilience awards. This notice will include detailed further instructions and further guidance on the program.

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