This year's report shows the benefits of the enhanced and expanded definition of eligible projects under the TEA-21. The inclusion of 15 experimental projects and four public/private partnerships is a result of TEA-21's added flexibility. No longer considered an experimental Federal-aid highway program, the CMAQ projects in the FY 1999 report are diverse and innovative.
Based on information collected by FHWA/FTA as part of FY 1999 CMAQ annual reports, the following observations are offered to States and local agencies for purposes of developing future CMAQ annual reports:
FHWA/FTA has observed that a fairly large percentage of projects listed in the State-submitted reports do not have calculations of emissions reductions. Project sponsors are reminded that CMAQ program funding is limited, by law, to projects that reduce air pollution. Projects that do not reduce emissions are not legally eligible to receive CMAQ funding.
Many of the project descriptions are very brief, to the point where it is not possible to tell what type of work was funded or for which eligibility category. Other descriptions seem to be inaccurate. For example, projects are sometimes reported as a "study" with an associated emission reduction. While implementing the findings of a study might result in emissions reductions, studies themselves do not cause emission reductions and a project that is only a study is not eligible for CMAQ funding. So, a project description of "study" should also explain what other actions were taken that caused real-world emission reductions.
FHWA/FTA finds that the funds reported are often based on planned amounts or on actual or partial expenditures or on some other State or local tracking mechanism. For the sake of national consistency, the funds reported in the CMAQ reports are to be based on amounts of Federal funds obligated to a specific project. States are asked to ensure that accurate financial reports (consistent with FHWA's FMIS figures) are provided that include only the CMAQ portion of funds for each project. State, local or private funds should be identified separately.
FHWA/FTA also finds that the State reports are often late or incomplete. The final information needed to complete this report, which was due February 1, 2000, was not received by FHWA/FTA until 2001. As of this writing, September 2002, there are three States which have not yet submitted their FY 2000 reports (due February 2001) and several States have been asked for more complete information. Therefore, States are asked to submit each annual report to the FHWA/FTA by February 1 of each calendar year to show only those projects for which CMAQ funds were obligated in the previous fiscal year.