Notice of Availability of Emergency Relief Funds in Response to Hurricane Sandy
Notice of availability of emergency relief funds.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of funds under the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program (Emergency Relief Program) for States, local governmental authorities, Indian tribes and other FTA recipients impacted by Hurricane Sandy, which affected mid-Atlantic and northeastern states in October 2012, and particularly devastated transit operations in New Jersey and New York. FTA will distribute these funds in a manner consistent with the eligibility requirements of this program on a non-competitive basis, subject to the priorities set forth below. The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (Pub. L. 113-2) was enacted on January 29, 2013, and provides $10.9 billion for FTA's Emergency Relief Program for recovery, relief and resiliency efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. The law provides that not more than $2 billion shall be made available no later than March 30, 2013. The remainder of the appropriated funds shall be made available only after FTA enters into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as required by section 20017(b) of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, Pub. L. 112-141), and FTA issues interim regulations for the Emergency Relief Program, both of which are underway. MAP-21 authorized the Emergency Relief Program at 49 U.S.C. 5324. With the authorization of this program, Congress provided FTA with primary responsibility for reimbursing emergency response and recovery costs after an emergency or major disaster that affects public transportation systems. The Emergency Relief Program allows FTA to make grants for eligible public transportation capital and operating costs in the event of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, that affects a wide area. Beginning in late October, President Obama issued major disaster declarations for the following States: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia. Numerous counties in these States have been designated as eligible for FEMA assistance under the major disaster declarations. Public transportation agencies in the affected areas as defined by these Presidential declarations, including any declarations related to Hurricane Sandy made after the date of this notice, are eligible for Emergency Relief funding. This notice announces grant funding for the $2 billion made available immediately by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act to States, local governmental authorities, Indian tribes, and other FTA grant recipients that provide public transportation service in the above impacted States for reimbursement of capital costs to repair, reconstruct, or replace equipment and facilities of a public transportation system that has suffered serious damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, costs eligible for reimbursement include emergency operating costs incurred for evacuations, rescue operations, moving rolling stock to higher ground in order to protect it from storm surges, temporary public transportation service, and reestablishing, expanding or relocating public transportation service before, during, or after Hurricane Sandy. FTA has identified three categories of projects for funding for this notice: Category One projects will reimburse eligible expenses affected FTA recipients incurred and disbursed on or before January 29, 2013, in preparation for or response to Hurricane Sandy. Category Two projects will fund existing contractual commitments and contracts for which an affected recipient issued requests for proposals or invitations to bid for hurricane response and recovery projects on or before January 29, 2013. Category Three projects will fund ongoing force account work for hurricane response and recovery for which the recipient can submit documentation showing the expense was in the recipient's budget on or before January 29, 2013. The application process will occur in two stages. First, applicants will submit proposals requesting reimbursement of eligible costs for the categories of projects described in this notice. Since funds must be made available no later than March 30, 2013, applications for funding must be submitted between the date of publication of this notice and March 8, 2013 through GRANTS.GOV. FTA encourages affected recipients to submit their requests for reimbursement expeditiously, as FTA intends to allocate funds on a rolling basis. Second, upon allocation of funds, FTA will notify recipients that they can enter a grant application in FTA's Transportation Electronic Award Management system (TEAM). Subsequent to receipt of applications for the above project categories, and prior to March 30, 2013, FTA will issue a notice in the Federal Register showing the allocation of the initial $2 billion. Prior to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, affected recipients may have received funding from FEMA for operating or capital costs incurred in response to the hurricane. Section 5324(d) of title 49 United States Code provides that a grant awarded under section 5324 may be made only for expenses that are not reimbursed under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5207). Accordingly, FTA will not fund project expenses that FEMA has already funded. Additionally, prior to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, affected recipients may have received insurance proceeds to repair or replace damaged capital items. FTA will not fund project expenses for which a recipient has already received insurance proceeds. Affected recipients may apply for Emergency Relief funds in advance of expected insurance proceeds; when the affected recipient receives those insurance proceeds, the funds must be applied to an Emergency Relief grant to offset the Federal share. This notice includes a description of eligible projects, the criteria FTA will use to identify projects for funding, and a description of how to apply for funding. This announcement is available on the FTA Web site at: http://www.fta.dot.gov. A synopsis of the funding opportunity will be posted in the FIND module of the government-wide electronic grants Web site at http://www.GRANTS.GOV. FTA intends to announce funding allocations on a rolling basis and will notify applicants directly of allocations made under the program. In addition, FTA will announce final allocations on the FTA Web site. Pursuant to the requirement in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act that FTA publish interim regulations before additional funds beyond the initial $2 billion will be available, FTA is in the process of drafting interim regulations for the Emergency Relief Program. If FTA subsequently establishes criteria or conditions for grants made under the Emergency Relief Program that are different from those in this notice of availability of emergency relief funds, the different criteria or conditions will not be applied retroactively to applications submitted or grants awarded consistent with this notice, unless the change benefits the applicant.