The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement program provides a flexible funding source for State and local governments to support transportation projects and programs that help improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. This funding is intended for areas not meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)-nonattainment areas-and areas that previously did not meet the standards, but now do-maintenance areas.
A wide range of transportation projects and programs are eligible, including traffic flow improvements, bicycle and pedestrian pathways, and idle reduction technology, among others. The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), jointly administer the program.
The CMAQ program was established under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, and reauthorized under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1997. Since its inception, the CMAQ program has provided more than $13 billion in funding for more than 16,000 projects across the country.
In August 2005, CMAQ was again reauthorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This brochure describes the CMAQ program and highlights key elements of the program under SAFETEA-LU, including changes in eligibility requirements.
SAFETEA-LU was enacted in August 2005 to provide funding for the Nation's surface transportation programs through 2009. Representing the largest surface transportation investment in the Nation's history, SAFETEA-LU establishes numerous new transportation programs and reauthorizes many of the programs created under ISTEA and TEA-21.
Broad in scope, SAFETEA-LU addresses the many challenges facing today's transportation system, such as improving safety, reducing traffic congestion, improving efficiency in freight movement, increasing intermodal connectivity, and protecting the environment. SAFETEA-LU also lays the groundwork for addressing future challenges.
SAFETEA-LU funds CMAQ at approximately $1.7 billion per year-a 27-percent increase over the average annual CMAQ authorization under TEA-21.
This funding will be augmented by equity bonus funds to ensure that each State's return on its share of contributions to the Highway Trust Fund is at least 90.5 percent in 2005, building toward a minimum 92-percent relative rate of return by 2008.
Every State receives at least a 0.5-percent minimum apportionment of CMAQ funds. Additional funds are apportioned according to a formula based on a State's population in ozone and carbon monoxide nonattainment and maintenance areas.
SAFETEA-LU modified the weighting factors for carbon monoxide and ozone areas. Additional weight is given to counties that are nonattainment or maintenance areas for both the carbon monoxide and ozone NAAQS. The formula does not account for particulate matter pollution, but CMAQ funds can be used in particulate matter areas.
|CO or O3||Maintenance||.08||1.0|
|CO + O3||Maintenance||1.1 x O3 factor||1.2 x O3 factor|
|CO + O3||Nonattainment||1.2 x O3 factor||1.2 x O3 factor|
Key CMAQ funding requirements have not changed with SAFETEA-LU. States with nonattainment or maintenance areas must invest their funds in those regions. This includes areas newly-designated as nonattainment under the 8-hour ozone standard and the fine particulate matter standard (PM2.5). States without nonattainment or maintenance areas may use their CMAQ funds for any project or program that is eligible for CMAQ or Surface Transportation Program funding.
All CMAQ projects must come from a conforming transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) in metropolitan areas or State TIP in rural areas. The State transportation department is responsible for distributing the funds. The Federal share for most CMAQ-eligible projects is 80 percent, but State and local officials are encouraged to seek a larger match than required by law in cases such as public-private partnerships. The CMAQ program operates on a reimbursable basis, so funds are not provided until work is completed.
CMAQ funds continue to be available for a wide range of transportation projects, including:
SAFETEA-LU highlights several types of projects, including:
SAFETEA-LU does not change the way State and local agencies distribute CMAQ funds. However, States and metropolitan planning organizations are encouraged to give priority to projects and programs that finance diesel retrofits and other cost-effective emission-reduction activities, in addition to cost-effective congestion-mitigation activities that provide air quality benefits.
SAFETEA-LU also requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in consultation with EPA, to evaluate and assess a representative sample of CMAQ projects. The goal is to determine the direct and indirect impacts of the projects on air quality and congestion to ensure that the CMAQ program is being effectively implemented. In addition, DOT will continue to maintain and disseminate information from the CMAQ project database, which tracks all CMAQ projects and their impacts.
For more information, please contact:
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
Office of Natural and Human Environment
400 7th Street, S.W., Room 3240
Washington, D.C. 20590; 202-366-6724
This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification or regulation.
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