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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 000-UW1WE-00; Central Montana Rail, Inc.
PW ID# N/A; Judith River Railroad Trestle Repair
Citation: FEMA-1996-DR-MT, Central Montana Rail, Inc., Judith River Railroad Trestle Repair
Reference: Private Nonprofit (PNP), Applicant Eligibility, Facility Eligibility, Request for Public Assistance (RPA)
Summary: The Central Montana Rail, Inc. (Applicant) is a Private Nonprofit (PNP) organization that provides rail transportation for freight products, primarily serving the residents of Chouteau, Judith Basin, and Fergus Counties. The Applicant claims that the flooding associated with major disaster FEMA-1996-DR-MT damaged the railroad trestle over Judith River, resulting in the cessation of all rail service. Although the State of Montana owns the rail line, including the damaged trestle, the lease agreement with the Applicant assigns maintenance and repair responsibilities to the Applicant. On September 6, 2011, the Applicant received an email from FEMA stating that the Applicant’s Request for Public Assistance was denied because it does not meet the criteria of an eligible PNP.
In a letter dated November 22, 2011, the Applicant requested reconsideration as an eligible PNP providing a critical service. The Applicant stated that it provides an essential government service and submitted an economic analysis showing that the inactivity of the rail has an impact of nearly $15 million to the region over a 3-year period. The Applicant further states that it provides a safe transportation route “for freight products including grains headed for our country’s food supply, fertilizer, and forest products.” The Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Division (DES) forwarded the appeal to FEMA on November 30, 2011, without a recommendation. In a letter dated April 11, 2012, FEMA determined that Central Montana Rail, Inc. is an eligible PNP applicant; but that its facility was not eligible under the provisions of the Public Assistance Program.
The Applicant submitted a second appeal on June 11, 2012, stating that the railway qualifies for Public Assistance as an “other facility providing essential governmental type services to the general public,” because it offers the opportunity for the general public, agricultural producers, businesses, and anyone needing commodities hauled a cost-effective transportation alternative. Further, the appeal asserts that the Applicant meets the definition of a PNP utility in accordance with 44 CFR §206.221(e)(2) Definitions, Private nonprofit facility “… other similar public service facilities.”
Issues: Is the Judith River railroad trestle an eligible PNP facility?
Findings: No, the railroad trestle does not meet the definition of a “PNP utility” nor does it meet the definition of an “Other essential governmental service facility”.
Rationale: 44 CFR §206.221(e)(2) and (7), Definitions, Private Nonprofit Facility