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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Answer:

If an applicant is proposing to use their own funds as local match, the documentation of the availability of such funds in a capital or financial plan is recommended. If local match will be provided by a separate entity, a letter that promises the availability of funds should be submitted. Finally, if an applicant will need to raise funds for a project, such as through the issuance of bonds, a description and timeline for that process should be provided.

Answer:

Work that has been budgeted (but for which an RFP has not been advertised) is eligible for funding under the prorated allocation, not under Categories 1-3. The RFP, when issued, will need to comply with all federal requirements unless FTA issues a waiver to the applicant pursuant to the waiver process detailed in the Notice of Availability of Emergency Relief Funding. Force account work associated with that contract should not be requested under Category 3, unless it has independent utility and is not contingent upon a future contract action.

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:

Yes, however requirements associated with the “shared use” of the facility may be applicable.

Answer:

An agency may submit an application for a project that involves multiple subcomponents, provided that those components are part of a larger overall resilience proposal. If one or more of the subcomponents need to be undertaken by another agency, the applicant may either serve as the grantee for the entire award, and administer a sub-award to the other agency, or if the other agency is an FTA direct recipient (grantee), the applicant may direct the other agency to apply to FTA separately for its part of the project. In this second case, both agencies will be required to enter into an agreement outlining their mutual responsibilities in accomplishing the project and the terms of their coordination.

Answer:

Any funds awarded for a competitively selected project must be used for that project, consistent with the scope identified in the project proposal. If a project is completed under budget, any remaining funds must be returned to FTA. If funds cannot be used to complete the project as proposed, FTA should be notified immediately, so that funds can be reallocated through the program.

Answer:

As an alternative to the competitive resilience NOFA, some projects may also be eligible for funding that FTA allocated to certain agencies for locally prioritized resilience projects on May 29, 2013. In general, these local priority resiliency funds were intended for resiliency improvements that are integrated with a repair project, or for stand-alone projects that are not complex and/or need to be completed quickly. Grantees should contact their regional office, which must approve local priority resiliency projects.

Answer:

Please see FTA’s recent Dear Colleague letter and policy guidance on this question. If the Federal recovery allocation plus any insurance proceeds received together exceed the total amount of estimated damages, FTA will reduce the recovery allocation to equal 100 percent of the estimated damage. A grantee may request that FTA adjust the total damage estimate by submitting evidence of additional damage or increased recovery costs.

Answer:

If the facility was destroyed and is being moved because rebuilding on the existing site is not practical or feasible, the project would be awarded a 90% Federal share as a recovery project. If the facility is at risk of future damage but did not sustain significant damage during a storm, the relocation project would likely need to be selected by the State or Territory allocated resilience funding and would be awarded an 80% Federal share as a resilience project. Each project is different and it is recommended that you discuss the specifics of your project with your FTA regional office.

Answer:

In accordance with the answer to the previous question, if a portion of funds are awarded for a project component that must be undertaken by an intercity passenger rail operator, those funds may be transferred to FRA for administration. If such a proposal is submitted as a single project, the applicant must clearly identify the portion of the project proposed to be administered by the intercity rail operator.

Answer:

In general, responses to the evaluation criteria should be concise enough to fit within the space provided on the supplemental form. Additional files may be submitted if necessary for documentation or backup, however, the supplemental form must still contain a complete summary of your response to the criteria. If additional documents are required (e.g. letters of funding commitment, excerpts from plans or studies, engineering documents), these should be referenced specifically in the response to the relevant evaluation criterion.

Answer:

In most instances, FTA's eligibility criteria are more flexible than FEMAs. We recommend that grantees first pursue FTA funding. However, if an expense is not eligible under the FTA program, grantees are free to pursue FEMA funds. FTA and FEMA have developed open lines of communication to ensure that project reimbursements are not duplicated and will assist grantees with identifying the proper source for reimbursement to the extent possible.

Answer:

If funding is withdrawn from a resilience project to the extent that a viable resilience project with independent utility will not be completed, costs incurred under pre-award authority for that project will not be eligible for reimbursement. 

Answer:

Regardless of the results of the risk assessment, FTA expects the recipient to complete the scope of the Resilience project applied for without expectation of additional Hurricane Sandy funding. FTA may require the recipient to identify additional funding sources if necessary.Regardless of the results of the risk assessment, FTA expects the recipient to complete the scope of the Resilience project applied for without expectation of additional Hurricane Sandy funding. FTA may require the recipient to identify additional funding sources if necessary.

Answer:

Costs incurred for recovery that do not involve substantial changes to the location, capacity, or function of the transit asset do not need to be programmed in the TIP/STIP to be reimbursed.  However, FTA recommends that such projects undertaken more than a year after a disaster be programmed in the TIP/STIP to ensure that projects are planned and funded alongside non-emergency transportation projects within the State and/or metropolitan planning region. Recovery projects that include changes to the location, capacity, or function of the transit asset must be in the TIP/STIP prior to incurring costs.  As of November 1, 2013, resilience expenses must be programmed in the TIP/STIP prior to being incurred.

Answer:

Any provider of public transportation service is eligible to apply. If your agency is not an active recipient of FTA funding, you must apply in coordination with a current recipient that is willing to receive and administer the award on your behalf. If funds are awarded, you would need to be a subrecipient of the award under the administration of the current FTA recipient. For such cases, applicants should simply provide a letter from a current recipient indicating their willingness to pass the award through to you as a subrecipient. If you are unsure of who can serve as a direct recipient of FTA funds, please contact your regional FTA office. In addition to larger transit operators, this could include State departments of transportation.

Answer:

Yes, however FTA will only participate in the scope of the project that was funded in the award announcement. In most cases, this scope corresponds with a proposed “scaled” option for the project. Other sources of funding would be required for the other elements of the project. If you are unsure what elements of the project are included in the award, please contact your regional office for additional guidance.

Answer:

If the service operated was altered in some way due to the storm (i.e. extra buses, route changes, extended service hours, etc.) then it would be eligible as emergency operations. If the service operated was regular service on its regular schedule, it would not be eligible.

Answer:

If you are an eligible recipient and have eligible response and recovery expenses not yet reimbursed and you did not receive a pro-rated allocation in the March 29th allocation notice, you may be eligible for these funds. Please contact your regional office (either Region 1, 2 or 3) to apply for these Emergency Relief funds. FTA set-aside two percent, or $28,048,497, for affected recipients that suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy and who may have outstanding expenses. If your request is approved, you will be asked to submit an electronic grant application with the regional office.

Answer:

It is reasonable to expect that transit agencies used (and continue to use) their own staff for response and recovery work. Agencies may have ongoing recovery work for which they continue to use their own forces, as opposed to contractors. Any hurricane response/recovery work done by your staff prior to January 29 would fall into Category 1, since the grantee is simply seeking reimbursement. However, if you have plans to continue to use your staff for recovery work that has not yet occurred, then those expenses are eligible under Category 3, as long as you can show documentation that the work is budgeted and ongoing. By budgeted, we mean an amendment to your budget that shows a line item for hurricane response, or something that shows you’ve moved staff off of regular tasks to hurricane response (Board meeting minutes, etc.). If you cannot show us that you have budgeted for that work prior to the 29th, then that work will still be eligible for reimbursement using the agency’s prorated allocation.

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