33 CFR 241.4 - General policy.
(a) Procedures described herein establish an “ability to pay” test which will be applied to all flood control projects. As a result of the application of the test, some projects will be cost-shared by the non-Federal interest at a lower level than the standard non-Federal share that would be required under the provisions of section 103 of Pub. L. 99-662, 33 U.S.C. 2213. The “standard share”, as used herein, refers to the non-Federal share that would apply to the project before any ability to pay consideration.
(b) Section 103(m) requires that all cost-sharing agreements for flood control covered by the terms of section 103(a) or 103(b) be subject to the ability to pay test. The test must therefore be applied not only to projects specifically authorized by Congress, but to the continuing authority projects constructed under section 14 of the 1946 Flood Control Act (33 U.S.C. 701r), section 205 of the 1948 Flood Control Act (33 U.S.C. 701s), and section 208 of the 1954 Flood Control Act (33 U.S.C. 701g), all as amended.
(c) The ability to pay test shall be conducted independently of any analysis of a project sponsor's ability to finance its ultimate share of proposed project costs. The ability to finance is addressed in a statement of financial capability which considers current borrowing constraints, alternative sources of liquidity, etc. It is therefore much more narrowly defined than the ability to pay test, which considers the underlying resource base of the community as a whole. The ability to pay test shall not be used to affect project scope, or to change budgetary priorities among projects competing for scarce Federal funds.
(d) Any reductions in the level of non-Federal cost-sharing as a result of the application of this test will be applied to construction costs only. Operations, maintenance and rehabilitation responsibilities are unaffected by the ability to pay test.
(e) When projects are eligible for credits as outlined in ER 1165-2-29, reference § 241.3(e), the ability to pay test will be applied before any adjustments are made for credits. If the ability to pay test results in a lower non-Federal share, the allowable amount of credits will be limited by the lower share.
(f) The test is based on the following principles:
(1) Since the standard non-Federal cost-share is substantilly less than full costs in every case, the ability to pay test should be structured so that reductions in the level of cost-sharing will be granted in only a limited number of cases of severe economic hardship.
(2) The test should depend not only on the economic circumstances within a project area, but also on the conditions of the state(s) in which the project area is located. Although states' policies with respect to supporting local interests on flood control projects are not uniform, the state represents a potential source of financial assistance which should be considered in the analysis.
(3) The alternative level of cost-sharing determined under the ability to pay principle should be governed in part by project benefits. If, as a result of the project, local beneficiaries receive more income, or are required to use fewer resources on flood damage repair or replacement, or on flood insurance, a portion of these resources should be available to pay for the non-Federal share, even in those cases where an analysis of current economic conditions indicates that there are relatively limited resources in the project area and its state.
(4) Since project benefits represent availability of resources in the future, but not the present, project sponsors should be permitted to defer a certain percentage of the non-Federal share whenever current economic circumstances suggest that non-Federal resources may be limited.
(g) The Non-Federal interest may, at its discretion, waive the application of the ability to pay test. In this case, the Non-Federal interest shall be considered to have the ability to pay the standard cost-share and no further economic inquiry will be required.