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Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Highlights

February 2011

Prepared by the Office of Natural and Human Environment Federal Highway Administration - Publication Number FHWA-HEP-11-013

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Announcements and Recent Events

Transportation Conformity Training Comes to Washington, D.C. The National Transit Institute sponsored Introduction to Transportation Conformity course will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 23-25 at U.S. DOT Headquarters. This two and one-half day introductory course has been recently updated to include MOVES and other developments since earlier this year. For more information about the DC training section, contact Andrea Martin at FTA or 202-366-3040. The course will also be held in Salt Lake City on May 3-5, 2011. To register, go to: NTI Website.

AASHTO Establishes Air Quality Community of Practice Website. The AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence has established a community of practice for air quality practitioners to have a focused discussion on the state of the practice, emerging issues, and research data needs on particular air quality issues. The Air Quality COP consists of representatives from ten State DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) and AASHTO. Four reports have been issued thus far and they can be found at: Air Quality Community of Practice.

CMAQ Eligibility: General Government Services. Some recent issues with CMAQ support for alternative fuel, non-transit vehicles prompted the need to remind transportation-air quality practitioners that Federal cost principles apply to all CMAQ projects in addition to the formal program guidance. In the specific cases of CMAQ support for police cruisers, these types of acquisitions involving vehicles that are more closely tied to general government functions such as fire prevention or law enforcement cannot be fully funded through CMAQ. Project sponsors need to identify the portion of the vehicle cost linked to an emissions reduction, i.e. the benefit allocated to CMAQ funding. In addition to the program guidance, sponsors should consult 2 CFR 225, the cost principles that cover State and local governments. For more information, please contact Michael.Koontz@dot.gov.

EPA Announces Information Collection Request (ICR) on Transportation Conformity Determinations. On February 10, EPA posted an announcement in the Federal Register seeking comments by April 11, 2011, on the burden associated with meeting the requirements of the conformity rule. EPA considered the following in reviewing the existing ICR: the start-up burden associated with the new quantitative hot-spot analysis requirements for PM, the burden associated with using the new MOVES model for conformity analysis, efficiencies in areas doing conformity for multiple NAAQS, and differences in conformity resource needs in large and small metropolitan areas and isolated rural areas. For more information, see: EPA Information Request.

Reminders

EPA Proposed to Retain Carbon Monoxide NAAQS. EPA recently completed a court-ordered review of the carbon monoxide (CO) standards and concluded current standards are strong enough to protect public health. On January 28, EPA proposed to keep the current standard for CO and took action to gather additional monitoring data to assist in future reviews of the NAAQS. The current standard is 9 parts per million (ppm) measured over 8 hours and 35 ppm measured over 1 hour. Comments on EPA's proposal are due by April 12, 2011. For more information, see: Proposed CO NAAQS.

EPA Started 24-month MOVES/EMFAC Grace Period for Hot-Spot Analyses and Announces Final PM2.5, PM10 and CO Quantitative Modeling Guidance Documents. On December 20, 2010, EPA announced in the Federal Register its approvals for using MOVES for PM and CO hot-spot analyses (and EMFAC for PM hot-spot analyses in California) and started a 24-month conformity grace period. EPA released final guidance documents for conducting quantitative analyses using the MOVES model in PM2.5, PM10 and CO nonattainment and maintenance areas and in California, the EMFAC model in PM2.5 and PM10 nonattainment and maintenance areas. To access the Federal Register notice, guidance documents, and fact sheets, go to: EPA's Project Level Conformity.

EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program Funding Opportunity. EPA is seeking proposals for funding to better understand the hazards of extreme weather events related to climate change on air quality and water quality. Specifically, EPA is seeking proposals to develop assessments, tools and techniques, and demonstration of innovative technologies to provide information and capacity to adequately prepare for climate-induced changes in extreme weather events in the context of air and water quality management. Applications are due on April 18, 2011. For more information, see: STAR Program.

EPA Releases Revised MOVES2010a Installation Suite. EPA has revised the MOVES2010a Installation Suite to improve model run time and to make it easier to install MOVES. The revised installation suite includes a number of improvements and also upgrades the MOVES default database. No changes were made to calculations in the MOVES code or to the content of the default database. This revision is not a new emissions model for the purposes of conformity or SIP development nor does it change the grace period which ends on March 2, 2012, before use of the model is required. The suite is available at: EPA's website

Continuation of the CMAQ 100 percent Federal Share Flexibility and FY 2010 Supplementary Tables are Available. The Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 amended Title 23 to provide a temporary full Federal share (at 100 percent) for CMAQ projects obligated in Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009. This increased Federal share will continue to apply to CMAQ projects during the most recent SAFETEA-LU extension. Any questions related to the CMAQ program should be directed to Mike Koontz at (202)366-2076.

MOVES2010's 24-Month Grace Period for Regional Conformity Analysis Started on March 2, 2010. The Federal Register notice includes EPA's announcement of the approval and availability of MOVES2010 for SIPs and regional emissions analyses in all states except California. The notice also starts the two-year transportation conformity grace period that ends on March 2, 2012, after which MOVES2010 is required to be used for new regional emissions analysis for transportation conformity. Guidance on implementing MOVES2010 for SIP development and conformity purposes can be found at EPA's website. The MOVES2010 model and supporting materials can be found on the MOVES website.

Training Opportunities

Conformity 101 Training Available On-Line. FHWA has made a short course titled "What is Conformity" available on-line. This course is intended for transportation and air quality practitioners who are new to transportation conformity, those looking for a refresher, or others who only need a brief overview of the rule. The session is approximately 27 minutes long. Handouts are available for download at the same site. This course can be accessed on FHWA's website.

Transportation Conformity Training Courses. FHWA is sponsoring a two-day Introduction to Transportation Conformity training course in response to requests from various states. The course was recently offered in Carson City, NV, and Springfield, MO. For more information or if you are interested in hosting a training session, please contact Sarah Siwek, FHWA's contractor for these courses at ssiwek@aol.com.

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 the Resource Center website. For further information, contact: Mike Roberts at 404-562-3928.

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EPA and FHWA Offer Two-Day MOVES2010 Training Course. EPA and FHWA have jointly developed a two-day training course on the MOVES2010 model that will be taught at various locations over the coming months. This is a detailed, two-day, hands-on course geared toward state and local agency staff that will use MOVES2010 for developing SIPs and conformity analyses. For additional information on the two-day training sessions, visit EPA's MOVES training website. The materials needed for the course are posted on the MOVES training site.

EPA and DOT Develop a Multi-day Hot-spot Analysis Training Course. This training course will be developed in accordance with EPA's "Transportation Conformity Guidance for Quantitative Hot-spot Analyses in PM2.5 and PM10 Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas". This technical, hands-on course is geared toward state and local agency staff and will focus on using emission models (including EPA's MOVES model) and air quality models (AERMOD and CAL3QHCR) for quantitative PM hot-spot analyses. Additional information with dates and locations for the in-person model training will be provided as they become available, as well as any additional EPA webinars that are scheduled for implementing the guidance. Please contact conformity-hotspot@epa.gov to suggest a location or express interest in hosting the hands-on modeling course. For additional information, visit EPA's Project Level Conformity website.

Contacts

FHWA HQ Transportation Conformity Team:

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

Past issues are available at FHWA's website.If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: ssiwek@aol.com.

Updated: 07/10/2014
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