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Recovery Management: Transportation Recovery Responsibilities of Federal Agencies

Recovery Management: Transportation Recovery Responsibilities of Federal Agencies

This section provides an overview of the duties and responsibilities that key Federal agencies would likely fulfill should your community receive a Presidential disaster declaration. Some Federal resources will only be made available through the NRF and after each ESF has been properly activated. Resources designated in the ESFs will be accessible only through the respective lead agencies of the ESF (for instance, DOT for ESF #1-related resources and FEMA for ESF #14 resources). So, after a disaster, you will need to contact your SCO to make requests and get more information regarding this process. The SCO and FCO will determine what assets are required, which Federal agencies can best provide them, and where they will be deployed.

Note: The roles and responsibilities described in this section are derived from the National Response Framework (NRF), January 2008, and supporting ESF annexes. Specifically, see:

1. Emergency Support Function #1 – Transportation Annex.

2. Emergency Support Function #3 – Public Works and Engineering Annex.

3. Emergency Support Function #5 – Emergency Management Annex.

4. Emergency Support Function #6 – Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services Annex.

5. Emergency Support Function #14 – Long-Term Community Recovery Annex.

Extensive information and resources for the NRF are available at:  .

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

• In a declared disaster affecting your community, coordinates recovery and mitigation activities among transportation stakeholders within the authorities and resource limitations of ESF #1 agencies;

• Identifies temporary alternative transportation solutions that can be implemented by others when systems or infrastructure are damaged, unavailable, or overwhelmed;

• Helps assess damage to your community’s multi-modal transportation network infrastructure;

• Participates in the economic impact assessment of a transportation network disruption or incident in your community;

• Coordinates actions and provides technical expertise and financial assistance for repair and restoration of transportation infrastructure and network operation in your jurisdiction; and

• Helps prioritize restoration efforts in your community based on needs identified from your local government agencies, your State government, and other Federal agencies during the response. One such technical resource is DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration/Volpe Center (, which offers transit and community recovery planning on a fee-for-service basis.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

• Coordinates recovery of the Aviation Transportation System with government and industry stakeholders at all levels, including in your community, to acquire resources for system continuity and infrastructure recovery;

• Implements continuity and contingency measures to ensure public safety and continuity of commerce;

• Provides funding to restore the air traffic control system, air navigation facilities, airspace management capabilities, key equipment, airports, and communications in your jurisdiction; and

• Enforces additional airspace restrictions as necessary.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

• Depending on the amount of damage and the State request, may provide Emergency Relief Funding for Federal-Aid Highways and Federally Owned Roads;

• Supports States in the project development, planning, and approval process;

• Evaluates requests to deviate from environmental procedures during recovery; and

• Provides technical assistance throughout the recovery phase.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Provides support to Federal, State, and local agencies in recovery operations pertaining to emergency declarations on the shipment and transport of emergency services, e.g., waiver of hours of service for drivers involved in time-sensitive recovery operations.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

• Provides direct loans and guarantees to rehabilitate intermodal rail equipment or facilities (both freight railroading and passenger rail);

• Provides quantitative analysis, environmental research, project reviews, research and development, and technical assistance for railroad infrastructure recovery; 

• Provides an expedited process to handle requests to waive compliance with rules, regulations, or standards during emergency situations or events.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

• Provides financial, planning, and technical assistance for recovery of transit systems in your community; and

• Evaluates requests to deviate from environmental procedures during recovery.

Maritime Administration (MARAD)

• In a national defense emergency, advises the Secretary of DHS whether there is sufficient U.S.-flag vessel capacity available to meet requirements; if not, the Secretary of DHS may waive compliance with coastwise law;

• Following a disaster (depending on the location), may make vessels from the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) (government-owned vessels intended principally to deploy Department of Defense (DoD) forces) available to transport critical supplies and equipment, provide messing and berthing, and provide command and control facilities. In advance of anticipated emergency (e.g., hurricane), local government or emergency management organizations may request use of RRF vessels for temporary storage of vehicles, boats, skid-mounted helicopters, other emergency equipment, and personnel to ride out a storm or other natural disruption; and

• Acting through its National Shipping Authority (NSA), can assist in damage assessment, provide technical expertise, and coordinate shore-side recovery of the Marine Transportation System (MTS).
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

• May authorize a variance from hazardous materials safety regulations, through a special permit, to facilitate emergency transportation of materials into your area, or to transport hazardous wastes from your area; and

• May authorize a special permit to meet emergency requirements for pipeline operations.

Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center provides technical assistance in recovery and reconstitution of the transportation network modes in your community, promoting transportation technology that will improve newly rebuilt infrastructure or policies.

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC)

Coordinates transportation recovery operations on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

• Coordinates Federal resources and private/public-sector partners with recovery operations within the United States; and

• Coordinates overall staffing of Federal emergency management recovery activities at multiagency coordination centers, including which ESFs are activated, the size and composition of the organizational structure, the level of staffing at the above facilities, and the key personnel required.\

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)

• Coordinates with support agencies and other maritime stakeholders through ESF #1, ESF #10, and ESF #13 to prioritize, evaluate, and support restoration of domestic ports, shipping, waterways, and related systems and infrastructure in your jurisdiction. Provides personnel, equipment, or other support as necessary;

• Executes authorities under ESFs #1 and #10 to monitor and ensure vessel salvage for vessels containing oil and/or hazardous materials (includes coordinating and/or providing resources, assessments, expertise, monitoring, and other appropriate support);

• Has the lead responsibility for re-opening port facilities;

• Provides on-scene resources to your community to help assess transportation infrastructure;

• In support of ESF #3 of the NRF, oversees marking of wrecks, hazards, and debris that obstruct navigation and informing the public of such markings, and cooperates with USACE for removal if necessary;

• In support of ESF #10 of the NRF, coordinates with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to respond to pollution threats; and

• Executes authorities under ESF #13 for enhancement of security measures as appropriate during and after the recovery of the Marine Transportation System (MTS), including protection of CIKR MTS infrastructure, security of the supply chain, and establishment and enforcement of safety and security zones in your jurisdiction.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

• Identifies and provides transportation-related CBP assets and resources for recovery operations in your community, including personnel; equipment; air, surface, and marine assets; and other support resources when requested;

• Authorizes the redirection of conveyances to other border entry-points where your border entry-point infrastructure (if applicable) is being recovered post-incident;

• Considers temporary easement of enforcement of border trade regulations to facilitate commerce;

• In coordination with the U.S. Department of State, approaches foreign governments to make arrangements for diversion of U.S.-bound cargo and passengers as needed;

• Increases security measures as appropriate following a transportation incident; and

• Coordinates assets to complement temporarily degraded or disrupted DOT/FAA air navigation services capabilities, as requested.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

• Coordinates long-term recovery resources and support to local, tribal, and State governments (including yours after a declared disaster) for transportation network recovery through ESF #14;

• Manages long-term recovery Federal assistance processes in coordination with ESF agencies and the State(s);

• Provides emergency funding disaster assistance and financial aid, and validates State requests for assistance with funding related to transportation network recovery and accomplishing the ESF #1 mission (for your community’s needs, you must coordinate with your SCO, who coordinates with FEMA’s FCO);

• Coordinates recovery actions, program waivers, and funding with other Federal programs related to transportation network recovery;

• Advises on decision-making processes involving transportation network recovery;

• Identifies alternate transportation strategies while the mode(s) are undergoing recovery operations;

• Identifies and prioritizes projects for transportation recovery with local, tribal, and State local entities for quick implementation;

• Disseminates information on transportation network recovery strategies and status to the public in coordination with DOT and other agencies;

• Provides technical assistance for recovery planning and coordinates with stakeholders on updating infrastructure mitigation and recovery plans; and

• Provides ESF #3 recovery resources and support, to include assistance under the FEMA PA Program as authorized by the Stafford Act.

Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP)

• Provides information, assistance, and prioritized recommendations concerning the recovery and restoration of transportation critical infrastructure in your jurisdiction, as well as all other critical infrastructure and key resources impacted by transportation; and

• Provides Infrastructure Liaisons from the Protective Security Coordination Division to coordinate infrastructure recovery among the FCO, SCO, and CIKR owners/operators by leveraging existing local relationships against the impacted infrastructure and resources.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

• Enhances security measures as appropriate during and after the recovery of a transportation network;

• Coordinates collaborative effort with sector stakeholders and prepares for resiliency and recovery of transportation infrastructure from all hazards; and

• In coordination with other appropriate stakeholders and government agencies, recovers and maintains intermodal capacity, and takes steps to ensure the continuity of cargo and passenger flow.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Provides engineering and contracting/procurement personnel and equipment to help remove debris and/or repair roads and bridges, as well as make temporary repairs to important public facilities in your community.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

• Provides disaster assistance loans to repair/replace disaster-related physical losses to businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size;

• Provides economic injury disaster loans to small businesses and private nonprofits of any size to assist in economic recovery of the disaster-impacted area; and

• Offers physical and economic injury loans to entities that provide transportation-related goods and services and meet SBA’s eligibility criteria.

U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)

Provides a variety of services and technical support through the following:

Economic Development Administration (EDA)

Offers economic recovery planning and implementation assistance to qualified non-profits, and state, county, city, or town governments.

Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA)

• Through its Bureau of the Census and Bureau of Economic Analysis, provides the most recent demographic and economic data on areas affected by transportation emergencies; and

• Issues periodic economic impact reports of various disasters, on an ad hoc basis.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Offers technical support and advice on procuring outside consulting services for evaluating and assessing structural and fire safety aspects of transportation-related buildings and infrastructure in your community (e.g., train stations, ferry terminals, etc.).

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (maritime)

• In the aftermath of weather-related emergencies, provides timely weather forecasts to support emergency preparation as well as response and recovery efforts in your community prior to and in the aftermath of weather-related emergencies;

• Provides hydrographic survey assets and expertise to help respond to and restore important waterways, channels, and ports; and

• If you live and work in a coastal community, provides technical assistance on rebuilding your community, including transportation infrastructure, with resilience and sustainability in mind.

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

• Provides Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in accordance with the NRF;

• Supports recovery activities with Federal, State, local, and tribal elements as requested and approved by the Secretary of Defense;

• Provides support under Immediate Response Authority by DoD directive and prior approval of the Secretary of Defense; and

• Provides assets to complement temporarily degraded or disrupted DOT/FAA air navigation services capabilities as requested by DOT/FAA and ESF #1 (aviation).

Office of the Special Assistant for Transportation Engineering (SATE)

• Executes the Highways for National Defense (HND) program to protect the Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET) and ensure the defense readiness capability of public highway infrastructure in technical support of and coordination with military, State, and Federal agencies during the recovery process;

• Executes the Railroads for National Defense (RND) program to support and protect the Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET) and ensure the readiness and full capability of rail infrastructure in technical support of and coordination with military, industry, local, State, and Federal organizations during the recovery process; and

• Executes the Ports for National Defense (PND) program to provide technical support and ensure the identification, adequacy, and responsiveness of port infrastructure during maritime domain recovery.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

• Serves as the primary agency for providing ESF #3 technical assistance, engineering, and construction management resources and support during response and recovery activities of any National Transportation System disruption;

• Assists transportation recovery operations by providing equipment, supplies, and technical assistance;

• Provides rapid dredging capability through contracting or from the Federal Dredging Fleet (maritime);

• Provides coordination and technical assistance (to include transportation network infrastructure assessments, engineering, construction management, debris removal, and environmental assessment) to aid in the rapid recovery and reconstitution of critical transportation systems;

• Provides coordination, technical assistance, and emergency repair of damaged public critical transportation infrastructure and facilities;

• Supports development of national strategies and plans for the restoration of transportation infrastructure; and

• In support of ESF #3 of the NRF, oversees removal of wrecks, hazards, and debris that obstruct navigation, and cooperates with USCG for marking the obstructions and notifying the public.

Department of Energy (DOE)

• Addresses the impact that damage to an energy system in one geographic region may have on energy supplies, systems, and components in other regions relying on the same system—consequently, energy supply and transportation problems can be intrastate, interstate, and international; and

• Assists Federal departments and agencies by locating fuel for transportation, communications, emergency operations, and national defense.

Department of Interior (DOI)

Office of Wildland Fire Coordination

Provides (if available) engineering and contracting/procurement personnel and equipment to help your community with debris removal, demolition, and road and bridge repair, and temporary repair of critical public facilities, which could include transportation-related facilities.

Department of State (DOS)

• Coordinates offers of transportation recovery assistance from foreign governments should the disaster your community has experienced is widespread and destructive enough to warrant such offers; and

• Coordinates national efforts in international trade and commerce.

General Services Administration\

Helps identify sources for and contracting transportation services needed in your community to expedite recovery of vital transportation systems. May also provide resources for inspecting and restoring transportation infrastructure in your community after a disaster.

U.S. Postal Service (USPS)

Collects and reports on additional surface transportation infrastructure disruption and damages in your community as information becomes available.

Updated: Monday, March 5, 2012