These FAQs do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These FAQs are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. FTA recipients and subrecipients should refer to FTA’s statutes and regulations for applicable requirements.
FTA prior approval is not needed for force account plans (including justifications for use of force account) for purposes of emergency response and recovery work. Grantees are encouraged to update force account plans as needed for response and recovery projects on which force account labor will be used. For force account work to qualify for an allocation under Category 3, there needs to be evidence that the grantee had budgeted the expense prior to January 29, 2013.For more information about Force Account Plans, please see FTA Circular 5010.1D, "Grant Management Requirements, October 1, 2008, Chapter IV (PDF)."
No. The HMCE tool treats expected damages and historic damages in the same manner to estimate project benefits. However, because expected damages and historic damages are determined differently, there are different rules for their use (described below), and the HMCE tool cannot conduct an analysis based on a combination of expected and historic damages.
Historic damages are based on records from actual past disaster events. Since the recurrence intervals (RIs) of historic damage events may be known or unknown, the HMCE tool is capable of conducting analyses of historic damages with events of known RIs, unknown RIs, or a combination unknown and known RIs. (Refer to the HMCE Tool User Guide for additional details.) Historic damages must be documented based on damage reports, insurance claims, or other historic records.
Expected damages are based on damages predicted from a theoretical model or engineering analysis. For this reason, expected damages tend to be more difficult to justify than historic damages, and unlike historic damage events, the RIs of expected damage events must be known. The HMCE tool is capable of conducting analyses of expected damages with one or more events of known RIs. (Refer to the HMCE Tool User Guide for additional details.) Expected damages must be documented based on complete theoretical damage models, engineering analysis, or applicable historic damages with similar characteristics.
If the RFP has been issued, but the contract has not yet been awarded, the project meets the test for eligibility under Category 2.
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.
No. Please see the response to the question regarding non-resilience benefits. In accordance with the intent of the program, the HMCE analysis is designed to only assess the resilience benefits of a proposed project, which are those that are realized in the event of a natural disaster.
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.
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.
This purpose of this program is to provide funding for projects that make the regional public transportation system more resilient to future extreme weather events and other disasters. Consistent with the evaluation criteria listed in the Notice of Funding Availability, FTA will evaluate proposed projects based entirely on their resilience benefits and the ability of the project sponsor to carry out the project. To the extent that a project may have other incidental benefits, these may only be described to the extent they relate to the stated evaluation criteria. The overall purpose and complete benefits of the project may also be summarized in the project description.
Emergency recovery work that does not qualify under Categories 1-3 may be funded under the prorated allocations announced on March 29th, 2013, or under a future allocation of Emergency Relief funds. Grantees should provide FTA with a list of projects prior to beginning work in order to verify eligibility.Grantees have pre-award authority for the amounts allocated to them in the March 29, 2013 Federal Register Notice of Allocations, including for work performed after January 29, 2013 (and not in a contract, RFP or budgeted force account prior to January 29) provided that all federal requirements are met or a waiver is granted using the waiver request process detailed in the Notice of Availability of Emergency Relief Funding. Such costs are incurred at the grantees own risk, and there is no guarantee that such costs will be approved for Federal funding.Projects that have costs in excess of the amount allocated in the March 29 notice must request a Letter of No Prejudice (LONP) from the FTA Regional Office prior to incurring costs if they intend to seek Federal funding at a later date. The issuance of an LONP does not guarantee that the project will either be allocated funds or approved for reimbursement.
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.
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.
In addition to allocating funds for expenses under categories 1-3, FTA has allocated approximately $1.4 billion to applicants based on projected overall recovery costs as detailed in damage assessments conducted to date and validated by FTA over the past several months. These allocations were published in the Federal Register on March 29, 2013. Recipients may apply for eligible projects in TEAM up to the total amount awarded.
Each State and Territory allocated resilience funds may determine which resilience projects to fund within the declared disaster areas of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The State or Territory must submit a resilience program of projects (POP) to FTA for review for program eligibility and approval. FTA will provide a POP template with detailed instructions. You should work with the agency allocated resilience funds to determine how resilience projects will be selected for submission to FTA.
Once a resilience POP is approved, States and Territories may apply for funds on behalf of subrecipients with approved resilience projects. Any FTA direct recipients that are project sponsors for a project on an approved resilience POP may apply for the resilience funds directly in TrAMS.
Pre-award authority is available for storm-related expenses beginning on the date disaster preparations began in response to forecasts specific to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Per 49 CFR 602.11, FTA may approve pre-award authority for projects and expenses that alleviate damage caused during an incident period as defined by FEMA or in anticipation of that incident. When claiming storm-related preparation expenses prior to the arrival of the storm, the grant applicant should include a brief statement that explains the storm-related information they had, when they had it, and the activities/expenses incurred in response to that information. In areas affected by both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, the applicant must note which storm the emergency operations were in response to.
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.
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.
Applicants should submit one HMCE analysis for each proposed funding amount, including the total funding request and any reduced alternatives.
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.
Documentation for increased emergency operations costs should be consistent with the requirements described in 83 FR 25104 section II.A and 49 CFR 602.17. Such documentation should include:
- Type and description of emergency operations service, including the storm name and number of people transported (if applicable)
- Dates and hours of emergency service
- Number and type of vehicles utilized
- Total fare revenues collected (if any) during emergency operations
- Payroll summaries for staff during emergency operations period
- Applicable contracts for purchased transportation or other services and materials
Documentation for increased costs for capital projects should include a detailed description of the increased costs, specifying what has changed since the last cost estimate. The description of the increased cost should include the information required by the Emergency Relief Rule at 49 CFR 602.17 and the FTA Emergency Relief Manual section 4.1.2 (Preliminary Field Survey and Damage Assessment Report sub-sections). Any engineering costs required to provide a cost estimate are an eligible ER expense if the costs are allocable to a project that is determined to be eligible under the ER program.
If the increase in cost will not result in a request for funding greater than the amounts allocated, the documentation described above may be included in the grant application.
If the total amount of funding to be requested will exceed the amounts published in Federal Register notice 83 FR 25104, the documentation noted above must be sent to FTA in writing prior to including those costs in a grant application.
Approval of additional allocations may be dependent on availability of funding and other factors to be determined. FTA does not currently have a timeline for the allocation of the remaining emergency relief funding currently held in reserve. FTA will continue to monitor the pace of obligations and disbursements of ER funding allocated to date, as well as any changes to the estimated cost of recovery projects.
The HMCE analysis for this type of proposal would show its benefits entirely in the value of passenger time. The analysis should describe the number of passengers who would have shortened trips, or who would be able to get to work when their other travel mode is out of service. Note that this type of project could have a positive cost effectiveness ratio even if it does not reduce any direct damages, provided that the social benefits of the project are large relative to the project cost. FTA will carefully evaluate the methodology used to estimate social benefits in cases where the affected infrastructure is owned or operated by a separate entity. As in other parts of the HMCE analysis, information from previous disasters would be valuable in documenting the impact on passengers.