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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

FTA, FEMA ink agreement to define agency roles following Hurricane Sandy

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that outlines their roles in providing assistance to repair and restore public transportation service in federally declared disaster areas.

The FTA's newly authorized Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program was required under the new federal surface transportation law known as MAP-21 and the MOA, FTA officials said in a prepared statement.

The MOA is a key requirement that must be in place before the bulk of FTA's disaster relief funds for Hurricane Sandy aid can be released, as called for in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, officials said.

More than a third of the nation's transit riders were directly affected by the hurricane, which struck the East Coast in late October 2012. It was the worst transit disaster in history, said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.

"FTA and FEMA worked quickly to get this agreement in place in order to bring much-needed relief to transit agencies that were hit hardest by the storm to ensure that transit riders have the reliable service they need, and so that agencies have better resources to plan for and mitigate the impact of such disasters in the future," he said.

FEMA will continue to have primary federal responsibility for emergency preparation, response and recovery in major disasters and emergencies. The new emergency relief authority provides FTA with primary responsibility for reimbursing emergency response and recovery costs after an emergency or disaster that affects public transportation and for helping to mitigate the impact of future disasters, officials said.

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More News from 3/6/2013