State of Texas agencies and local government agencies may have the opportunity to seek Federal government participation in the cost of restoring public facilities which received severe damage in a declared disaster. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) each have Emergency Relief programs.

Administration of these programs for local government agencies is handled through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

To contact TxDOT for additional information on any of the programs listed below, send a request to txdot.ER@txdot.gov.

FHWA:

The U.S. Congress created the FHWA Emergency Relief Program for the repair or reconstruction of Federal-aid highways and roads which have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters or catastrophic failures from an external cause. This program supplements the commitment of resources by States, their political subdivisions, or other Federal agencies to help pay for unusually heavy expenses resulting from extraordinary conditions.

To determine if a roadway is on the Federal-aid highway system, use TxDOT’s Statewide Planning Map. After accessing the interactive map, click on the “Functional Classification & Urban Areas” overlay, then click on “Legend”, and then zoom in using the “+” sign. Roadways classified as Interstate, Principal Arterial, Other Principal Arterial, Minor Arterial, and Major Collector are eligible categories for FHWA Emergency Relief funding.

Approved ER funds are available at the pro-rata share that would normally apply to the Federal-aid facility damaged. For Interstate highways, the Federal share is 90 percent. For all other highways, the Federal share is 80 percent. The Federal share for permanent ER repairs may amount to 90 percent if the combined eligible ER expenses incurred by the State in a Federal fiscal year exceeds the annual apportionment of the State under 23 U.S.C. section 104 for the fiscal year in which the disasters or failures occurred.

Emergency repair work to restore essential travel, minimize the extent of damage, or protect the remaining facilities, accomplished in the first 180 days after the disaster occurs, may be reimbursed at 100 percent Federal share. The 180 day time period for 100 percent eligibility of emergency repairs may be extended if a State cannot access a site to evaluate damages and the cost of repair.

Additional information is available at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm.

FEMA:

For each event, application procedures for state and local governments are explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies. Assistance for the State and affected local governments can include:

Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health.  Emergency protective measures assistance, including direct federal assistance is available to state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas, and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.  (Source: FEMA funded, state administered).

Additional information is available at: https://www.fema.gov/.

FTA:

FTA’s Emergency Relief program enables FTA to provide assistance to public transit operators in the aftermath of an emergency or major disaster.

This program helps States and public transportation systems pay for protecting, repairing, and/or replacing equipment and facilities that may suffer or have suffered serious damage as a result of an emergency, including natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The program can fund capital projects to protect, repair, or replace facilities or equipment that are in danger of suffering serious damage, or have suffered serious damage as a result of an emergency. The program can also fund the operating costs of evacuation, rescue operations, temporary public transportation service, or reestablishing, expanding, or relocating service before, during or after an emergency.

Additional information is available at: https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grant-programs/emergency-relief-program/emergency-relief-program.

Links to useful resources:

The basic understanding of the ER process is explained series of four FHWA ER videos

  1. Emergency Relief Program Overview and Eligibility
  2. Initial Steps for Requesting Federal Aid
  3. Steps for Receiving Reimbursement of ER Expenses
  4. Emergency versus Permanent Repairs
road damage
flooded highway
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