State Aid Emergency Relief refresher
By: Chris Nobach, Assistant Project Development Engineer
Disaster season is officially upon us and the State Aid for Local Transportation (SALT) Emergency Relief (ER) Program is here to help. This article will serve as a quick overview on available reimbursement types and the resources available.
SALT ER reimbursement types
When disaster strikes, these are the potential funding sources based off the type of damage, roadway classification, disaster proclamations, and monetary value of the damage. Current Emergency Relief funding sources are as follows:
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Emergency Relief funding
- FHWA ER funds can be used to repair roads, bridges, culverts, and other roadway appurtenances damaged by these natural disasters or catastrophic events. These roadways need to be classified as “Major Collectors”, or above, to be eligible. Reimbursement under this program varies from 80%-100% based on the type of repair to the damaged section. Prior to reimbursement, the damage from the disaster/catastrophic event must be greater than $700,000 statewide to eligible facilities. Individual sites need to have at least $5,000 worth of damage to qualify. Finally, the site location must be present in a Governor’s Emergency Proclamation or a Presidential Disaster Declaration to be deemed eligible for reimbursement and the FHWA must concur with the prior assessments.
- Training presentation (video) from FHWA to MnDOT: FHWA ER Process Training
- PowerPoint Program Refresher: State Aid Disaster Training (PowerPoint)
FEMA funding is overseen by Homeland Security and Emergency Management within the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Funding under this account is typically used on minor roadways that do not meet the FHWA’s reimbursement criteria, debris cleanup, and other non-road related event damages. More information can be found by contacting a County Emergency Manager. Requires a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
- To qualify for this account, damage needs to occur on a County State Aid Highway (CSAH) or a Municipal State Aid Street (MSAS) and needs to be greater than 10 percent of the Local Public Agency’s (LPA) total annual State Aid allotment. Funding under this account is intended to supplement all other federal and state funding sources on this list – meaning, if ineligible for other funding sources on this list, eligibility for the State Aid Disaster Account may be appropriate. Any unused funds shall be returned to State Aid. If other State or Federal funds are awarded after reimbursement from this account, the amount equal to that State/Federal Aid shall be returned to State Aid.
- Statutes: 162.06, Subdivision 3 ; 162.12, Subdivision 3
- Guidance: Disaster Account Guidance (Word)
- This funding is intended to help cover the costs of the 20% match portion of the FHWA ER Program that the LPA is responsible for per the Statute below. Funding from this account has not been accessed for this purpose yet, since the Statute changed in 2015.
- Statute: 12.221B, Subdivision 6(3)
Another resource for disaster reimbursement is the legislative bonding process. If ineligible for other reimbursement options listed here, this is another potentially viable solution.
SALT ER Program Resources
- Website - https://www.dot.state.mn.us/stateaid/relief.html
- Federal Emergency Relief Checklist (PDF)
- Emergency Event Day 1 (PDF)
Reminder – If you find yourself in a situation where you think you may be eligible for reimbursement through this program, contact your District State Aid Engineer or Chris Nobach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-366-3824. Before doing any work -- document your eligibility, take site photos, and begin prepping damage estimates. Please note, that you could hinder your reimbursement eligibility efforts if you start work before coordinating with all the proper parties and understand the program rules.
We are here to help – stay safe out there!