Some official FEMA language about "Alternate Projects"

They are different from "Alternative Projects" and "Improved Projects." We say that just to give you a taste of the confusion in this process.

From a FEMA document "Alternate Projects and EHP Review:

In certain cases, if an applicant determines that the public welfare would not be best served by restoring a damaged facility or its function to its pre-disaster condition, the applicant may request State (Grantee) approval for FEMA Public Assistance funding for an alternate project. The applicant may apply eligible funding to repair or expand other public facilities; demolish the original structure and construct a new-use public facility; purchase capital equipment; perform certain cost-effective hazard mitigation measures located in the area affected by the disaster; provide supplemental funds for an improved project; or fund project shortfalls due to mandatory National Flood Insurance Program reductions on applicant buildings in floodplains. Alternate project funds may be used across all permanent work categories, but must benefit the general public. Before grant funding can be approved, FEMA must review projects to ensure that they meet all relevant environmental laws, policies, and regulations including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and Executive Orders 11988 (Floodplain Management) and 11990 (Protection of Wetlands)."

Copied from 9500 policy:


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.

Applicants receive Federal funding based on a percentage of the Federal cost share of the Federal estimate of the cost of repairing, restoring, reconstructing, or replacing the facility. Section 609 of the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE) (P.L. 109-347) amended section 406 (c)(1) of the Stafford Act by changing the contribution for alternate projects for public facilities from 75 to 90 percent of the Federal share of the eligible costs. 42 U.S.C. 406(c)(1)(A). There was no change to the contribution of 75 percent of the Federal share for alternate projects for Private Non-Profit facilities. 42 U.S.C. 406(c)(2)(A).

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 existing or new facility. See 44 CFR 206.203(d)(1).

Conversely, the application of eligible funding to repair or expand other public facilities, or construct a new-use facility, or purchase capital equipment or perform hazard mitigation measures unrelated to the original facility, would be considered alternate projects. Section 206.203(d)(2) of Title 44 CFR describes the basic requirements for alternate projects. This policy discusses applications of the regulation.


The following policy guidelines provide detail on alternate project funding uses and limitations.

The applicant may request approval of an alternate project from FEMA through the Grantee when an applicant determines that the public welfare would not be best served by either restoring a damaged facility or by restoring the function of a damaged facility. Either one of the two conditions must be met.See 44 CFR 206.203(d)(2).

The proposed alternate project must be a permanent project that benefits the general public.See 44 CFR 206.203(d)(2).

A damaged facility whose repair costs were used for an approved alternate project may be eligible for future Public Assistance funding provided that the Applicant funded and performed the repairs to the original damaged facility.

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

FEMA expects the proposed alternate project to serve the same general area that was being served by the originally funded project.

The FEMA Regional Administrator must approve all alternate projects prior to the start of construction.See44 CFR 206.203(d)(2)(v).

The proposal must include a description of the project, including the project location, an estimate of costs, a schedule of work, including a starting date for work, and a targeted completion date, and the necessary assurances to document compliance with special requirements, including, but not limited to floodplain management, environmental review, hazard mitigation, protection of wetlands, and insurance. 44 CFR 206.203(d)(2)(v).

Historic and any other legal considerations should also be identified. The applicant should identify the source of funding for projects when the cost estimate for the alternate project is greater than the eligible alternate project funding.

Alternate projects must be completed based on existing regulatory time frames established in 44 CFR 206.204. The Region can approve time extensions under extenuating circumstances.

Funding for alternate projects:

Private non-profit facilities (PNP). Eligible costs for PNPs are 75% of the approved Federal share of the project estimate of eligible repair/replacement costs of the damaged facility or the actual fixed cost of completing the alternate project(s), whichever is less. The appropriate Federal share will then be applied to the lesser amount.

Basic Calculation:


  - Project Estimate of Eligible Damage


  - % of Federal Cost Share


  - New Project Amount


  - of Federal Cost Share


  - Maximum Grant Amount