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Transportation Conformity Highlights

February 2010

Prepared by the Office of Natural and Human Environment Federal Highway Administration

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Announcements and Recent Events

MOVES2010 Approval and Start of Grace Period Announced in Federal Register. The March 2, 2010 Federal Register includes EPA's announcement of the approval and availability of MOVES2010 for State Implementation Plans and regional emissions analyses in all states except California. This notice starts the two-year grace period before MOVES2010 is required to be used in new regional emissions analyses for transportation conformity. The grace period will end on March 2, 2012. EPA did not approve the use of MOVES2010 for project-level transportation conformity hot-spot analyses; this will occur in the near future via a separate Federal Register Notice when the guidance for use in hot-spot analyses is finalized. The Federal Register notice can be found at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-03-02/html/2010-4312.htm. Guidance on implementing MOVES2010 for SIP development, conformity and other purposes can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/policy.htm. The MOVES2010 model and supporting materials can be found on the MOVES website: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/index.htm.

White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Releases Draft Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gases in NEPA Documents. On February 18, the CEQ released draft guidance on how to consider greenhouse gases in NEPA documents and asked for public input prior to making the guidance final. While not directly related to transportation conformity, this draft guidance provides insights into the Administration thinking on assessing impacts of climate change on federal actions and will have implications for State DOTs and project sponsors in conducting NEPA analysis. The CEQ will be accepting comments until May 18, 2010. For more information, see: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/nepa.

EPA Announces Research Grants on Climate Change and Air Quality. EPA recently announced seven grants for more than $4 million to study the effects of climate change on air quality. These grants were part of a larger $17 million in total grants that EPA announced addressing various health and environmental issues associated with facets of global climate change. For more information on each grant, see: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/climate/.

EPA Announces New One-Hour Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Standard. On February 9, the Federal Register included the EPA final rule which set a one-hour NO2 standard at 100 parts per billion (ppb), effective on April 12, 2010. The agency is also keeping the existing annual average standard of 53 ppb. Sources of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) include vehicles, power plants and other industrial emissions. NO2 also contributes to formation of ozone and particulates. As part of its announcement, EPA established new monitoring requirements in urban areas to measure NO2 levels around major roads and within communities. EPA plans to monitor near road NO2 in 102 urban areas and community-wide concentrations in 53 urban areas. Designations are scheduled to occur in January, 2012 based on the existing monitoring network. The new monitors will begin collecting data not later than January 1, 2013. Once the new monitors have collected three years of air quality data, EPA intends to redesignate areas based on the data from the new monitoring network in 2016 or 2017. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/air/nitrogenoxides/actions.html#jan10.

Reminders

EPA Posts Alternative Emission Rate Inputs for Use in MOVES. EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality has posted alternative emission rate inputs for Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs) (that meet the California standard) and the National Low Emission Standards (NLEV) which were implemented early in some states in the Ozone Transportation Commission. These alternative rates are for use in the recently released MOVES model and only for states that either adopted the California standards or implemented NLEV requirements early. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/tools.htm.

Upcoming Events

TRB Environment and Energy Research Conference. The 2010 TRB Environment and Energy Research Conference will be held in Raleigh, NC on June 6-9. The event will start with a Research Needs Workshop which is an opportunity for transportation professionals from all sectors to identify research needs on transportation, energy and environmental topics. This will be followed by conference sessions. For more information, see: http://cte.ncsu.edu/CTE/EEConference/index.asp.

Save The Date for Northern Transportation Air Quality Summit (NTAQS). The Northern Transportation Air Quality Summit (NTAQS) 2010 will be held August 24 - 26 at the Cambridge Marriott in Cambridge, Massachusetts. NTAQS, like the Southern Transportation Air Quality Summit (STAQS), is held every two years to discuss regional air quality issues. Topics such as conformity, the CMAQ Program, modeling and analysis associated with conformity and project analysis, revision of air quality standards, climate change, and other issues relating to air quality, the environment and planning will be covered. The FHWA and EPA Regions 1, 2, and 3 are co-sponsoring the Summit, along with the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management and other regional and local organizations. For additional information, contact Kevin Black at 410-962-2177 or Kevin.Black@dot.gov .

Training Opportunities

FHWA Resource Center Training Activities. FHWA's Resource Center Air Quality Technical Services Team is available to offer air quality-related training opportunities and information is available at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/courses.cfm. For further information, contact: Mike Roberts at 404-562-3928 or at Michael.Roberts@dot.gov.

National Transit Institute's Introduction to Transportation Conformity Course. The NTI course to be held in Columbus, Ohio on March 24-26, 2010. This two and one-half day course has recently been updated and provides basic information on conformity and updates on the conformity process. For more information, see: http://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=FP213. There is still space available.

FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/index.cfm.

If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: ssiwek@aol.com.

Updated: 11/02/2011
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