9525.13 Alternate Projects

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This policy is archived and has been superseded by the policy currently in effect.

  1. Date Published: July 31, 2001

  2. Readiness, Response and Recovery Directorate: 9525.13

  3. Title: Alternate Projects

  4. Purpose: This policy provides guidance on allowable uses and limitations of alternate project funds when restoration of the original damaged facility is not in the best interest of the public.

  5. Scope and Audience: This policy is applicable to all major disasters declared on or after the publication date of this policy. It is intended for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel in making eligibility determinations for the Public Assistance Program.

  6. Background: When an applicant determines that the public welfare would not be best served by restoring a damaged facility or its function, the applicant may request approval of an alternate project from FEMA through the Grantee. An "alternate project" is different from an "improved project." An improved project restores the facility and maintains its function, or maintains the function in another facility.

    The proposed alternate project must be a permanent project that benefits the general public. Federal funding is reduced to a rate of 75% of the Federal share of the approved estimate of eligible repair costs of the damaged facility or the Federal share of the actual cost of completing the alternate project, whichever is less. Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 206.203(d)(2) describes the basic requirements for alternate projects. This policy discusses applications of the regulation.

  7. Policy: The following policy guidelines provide more detail on uses and limitations for the application of alternate project funding.

    1. The funding is reduced to a rate of 75% of the Federal share of the approved estimate of eligible repair costs of the damaged facility or of the Federal share of the actual costs of completing the alternate project(s), whichever is less. The eligible repair costs include the costs of meeting mandated requirements of 44 CFR 206.226. Alternate project funding in a disaster with 75/25% cost sharing would receive Federal funding of 56.25% (75%x75%) of the eligible cost of the original project.

    2. Projects must meet the basic requirements outlined in 44 CFR 206.203(d)(2).

    3. Funds may be used to repair or expand other selected public facilities, to construct new facilities, purchase equipment, or to fund hazard mitigation measures in accordance with other provisions of this policy.

    4. The proposed alternate project must serve the same general area that was being served by the originally funded project.

    5. A proposal for an alternate project must be submitted within 12 months of the applicant's Kickoff Meeting. The proposal must include a description of the project, an estimate of costs, starting date for work, targeted completion date, location, and identification of any historic, environmental or other legal considerations associated with the new location.

    6. Mitigation Projects: The types of mitigation projects that may be approved for alternate project funds is very broad. The following guidelines are provided:

      1. Mitigation measures may mitigate potential damages to a facility that would be eligible for funding under Section 406 of the Stafford Act. However, the funding cannot duplicate any other mitigation funding.

      2. Mitigation measures may be of the same type as would be eligible for funding under Section 404 of the Stafford Act, if they meet a need for:

        1. governmental services and functions in the area affected by the major disaster, in the case of government applicants, or

        2. the eligible Private Nonprofit organization's (PNP) services and functions in the area affected by the major disaster.

      3. The mitigation measure does not have to mitigate the same type of damage that was caused by the disaster and does not have to be for the same type of disaster.

    7. Multiple Uses of the Funds: Alternate project funds from a single project do not have to be used on a single project. Alternate project funds from multiple projects may be pooled or divided.

      1. Alternate project funds can be divided and used on multiple projects to repair, expand, mitigate or construct a facility that would be an eligible facility under the PA Program.

      2. Alternate project funds may be used across all permanent work categories (such as, expanding an existing building and replacing a sewer line).

    8. Examples: Some potentially eligible examples follow:

      1. Upgrading a substandard undamaged road that is subject to repeated flooding in order to better serve the general public and reduce the repetitive flood damages.

      2. Upgrading a facility to mitigate future disaster damage whether or not the facility was damaged by the event. Upgrades might range from something as simple as hurricane clips or bracing, to a large project.

      3. Relocating undamaged facilities, such as roads and utilities that are subject to repetitive damages, as a mitigation measure.

      4. Demolishing an outdated maintenance building (non-emergency work) and using the remainder to construct a new water treatment plant.

      5. Abandoning a county bridge and using the funds to build a new county maintenance shop.

      6. Instead of replacing a damaged/destroyed facility, using the funds to increase the capacity of a new building, to mitigate areas subject to flooding and to add a wing to an existing building being repaired.

      7. Instead of repairing a transportation administrative building, using the funds to acquire and renovate a building to serve as a school for the arts.

      8. Purchasing pieces of equipment (such as scientific equipment, telecommunications switches, fire trucks, vehicles, etc.,) that exceed $5,000 per unit, have a useful life of a year or more, and would be eligible under the Public Assistance Program in a subsequent disaster.

    9. Insurance is required for the new project in accordance with Section 311 of the Stafford Act.

    10. Limitations: Ineligible uses of alternate project funds include:

      1. Repayment of debts;

      2. Meeting shortfalls in a financial budget;

      3. Creating a new master plan for rebuilding a school, university, or hospital campus;

      4. Landscaping projects;

      5. The purchase of supplies, furniture and equipment costing less than $5,000 per unit (considered an operating expense); and

      6. The funds may not be used to pay the non-Federal share of any project, nor any operating expenses.

      7. Facilities that would not be eligible for Public Assistance Program funding in a subsequent disaster.

      Additional requirements and limitations are cited in 44 CFR 206.203(d)(2).

    11. A facility that is not repaired, replaced, or sold must be rendered safe and secure or demolished.

    12. The value, or anticipated fair market value, of salvaged materials from the original facility (less the estimated costs necessary to demolish the facility, grade the site, or make the facility safe and secure) should be an adjustment on the PW that has been written for the repair of the original project. Regardless of what the applicant decides to do with the original project after accepting the alternate funding option, the salvage issue is to be resolved in the original PW.

    13. There are no environmental reviews required at the original facility. Environmental compliance costs associated with the new site are the responsibility of the applicant.

    14. FEMA will ensure that an appropriate review of the alternate project site(s) [that is, where FEMA funds are being applied] is carried out in accordance with Section 106 of NHPA. The cost of this review is a FEMA eligible cost and is in addition to the capped amount for the alternate project. Costs associated with the measures to treat an adverse effect are not funded by FEMA and are not included in the capped eligible funding for the alternate project.

      To encourage the applicant to protect its historic resources and as a condition of the FEMA grant for the alternate project, FEMA will require the applicant to consult with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to identify if the damaged facility is listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and agree to measures the applicant should take to protect the historic property from any negative impacts that may result from an applicant's action under the requirements stipulated in Section 7.K. of this policy. The applicant must provide FEMA with documentation of the consultation with the SHPO. If the damaged facility is a National Historic Landmark (NHL), the applicant will immediately contact FEMA to allow FEMA to participate in the consultation process. The applicant will be responsible for all costs associated with the consultation and any measures agreed upon by the applicant and SHPO.

  8. Supersession:

    1. Memorandum from Craig S. Wingo to David P. Grier dated December 4, 1995; Subject: Request for Guidance, FEMA-1031-DR-SD, PA ID# 029-00000; Codington County, County Road #4.

    2. This policy also updates and replaces relevant provisions of previous public assistance policy documents on this subject.

  9. Authorities: Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, Sections 101 and 406(c)(1) and (2); 44 CFR 206.203(d)(2).

  10. Originating Office: Recovery Division, Readiness, Response and Recovery Directorate.

  11. Review Date: Five years from date of publication.

  12. Signature: signed
    Lacy E. Suiter
    Executive Associate Director
    Response and Recovery Directorate

  13. Distribution: Regional Directors, Flood Insurance and Mitigation Directorate Assistant Director, Regional and Headquarters Recovery Division Directors


    1. Ninety percent (90%) for publicly-owned facilities on unstable soil. Prior to the enactment of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 on October 30, 2000, the rate for all alternate projects was 90%.

    2. Ninety percent (90%) for publicly-owned facilities on unstable soil.

Last Updated: 
06/13/2012 - 15:08