Summary: As a result of flooding in January of 1996, the railroad bridge over White Deer Creek and State Route 1010 was damaged. The center concrete pier of the bridge was destroyed, which led to the failure of other bridge components making the bridge unusable. This bridge is part of museum property owned by the Central Pennsylvania Chapter, National Railway Historical Society (subgrantee), which is a private non-profit (PNP) applicant. Damage Survey Report (DSR) 47491 was prepared to replace the pier and repair the bridge for an estimated contract cost of $150,900. The DSR was deemed ineligible because the bridge was not essential for the daily operation of the museum. A FEMA reinspection of the bridge determined that there was no indication of active use or maintenance of the bridge, railcars, or tracks. Additionally, the inspection team reviewed a bridge inspection report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which indicated that the bridge was in poor condition prior to the disaster. Thus, it was concluded that not all of the bridge damage was caused by the disaster. Accordingly, DSR 47491 remained ineligible. In the first appeal letter, dated July 17, 1996, the subgrantee stated that current and future museum operations and future commercial development would be hindered if the bridge was not repaired. The Regional Director denied the appeal, with an October 8, 1997, letter following the reinspection of the facility and correspondence with the State and subgrantee. The basis for the decision was that the bridge was not essential to the operation of the museum and it was inactive at the time of the disaster. The subgrantee submitted a second appeal of this determination, with information to support its position.
Issues: Is the bridge repair eligible for disaster assistance funding?
Findings: No, at the time of the disaster the bridge was not used to provide a function essential to the operation and public use of the museum. Furthermore, train rides across the bridge were not available to the general public.
Rationale: The facility (bridge) was not open to the general public, as required by 44 CFR 206.221f for PNP facilities. Additionally, the facility was not in active at the time of the disaster and is therefore not eligible according to 44 CFR 206.226