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FHWA Launches New Home Page. The new FHWA Home Page (www.fhwa.dot.gov) was redesigned to provide a more up-to-date look for our web page and to highlight key information. The new page features our ARRA implementation efforts and provides easy access to the many resources FHWA has developed to assist State and local governments with its implementation. Links to the latest VMT data, status of the Highway Trust Fund and other good information are more easily accessible. To access the Transportation Conformity page from the Home Page, click on "FHWA by Topics", then click on "Air Quality" under "People and Highway".
FHWA Updates Questions and Answers on Implementing The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. FHWA has updated a number of questions and answers for the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These questions were developed to assist all State and local agencies to implement the ARRA. For more information, see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery/qandas.htm.
EPA Asks Court for Time to Review the Ozone NAAQS. On March 11, the Department of Justice, acting on behalf of EPA, asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to vacate the briefing schedule for a lawsuit in which a coalition of states and environmental and health groups is suing the agency to strengthen its standards for ozone. EPA requested a six month extension of time to allow new agency officials to review the NAAQS for ozone to determine whether the Bush administration's rule should be maintained, modified or otherwise reconsidered. For latest information, check with: http://www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/actions.html#mar07s
EPA Releases Request for Applications for $206 Million in Diesel Retrofit and Clean-up Funds. On March 20, the EPA released the Request for Applications (RFA) for funding to clean up or retrofit diesel engines. The funds come from the recently enacted federal stimulus package. Applications are due on April 28 and information can be found at: http://epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery/index.htm.
Study Links Smog Exposure to Premature Death. On March 11, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that evaluates the long-term impact of smog on human health and suggests that long-term exposure to concentrated smog increases the risk of dying from lung disease. The study was co-authored by scientists from Health Canada, Brigham Young University, New York University's School of Medicine, the University of Ottawa, the American Cancer Society and the University of California, Berkeley. An abstract of the Journal article may be found at: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/360/11/1085.
State Recommendations on New 8-hour Ozone NAAQS Due to EPA. On March 12 state recommendations on 8-hour ozone nonattainment areas were due to EPA in response to the tightening of the 8-hour ozone standard that was finalized in March 2008. In March 2008, EPA finalized the new primary and secondary ozone standard at 0.075 parts per million (ppm). While the EPA has requested time to review the new standard (see next item), the agency is currently on track to make the designations under the new standard not later than March 2010. For information on the new standard see: http://www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/actions.html.
Transportation Planning, Land Use and Air Quality Conference.The focus of the 2009 TRB Transportation and Air Quality Committee Summer Conference on Transportation Planning, Land Use and Air Quality will be Global Climate Change. The conference will explore the latest research in the coordination of transportation, land use and air quality with a specific focus on climate change strategies. The conference will be held in Denver, CO July 28 and 29, 2009. For more information, see: http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/tpluaq/home.html.
Mark your calendar! Southern Transportation and Air Quality Summit (STAQS) 2009, will be held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Jacksonville, FL, August 25 -27, 2009. Fore more information, contact Mike Roberts at Michael.Roberts@dot.gov
What is Transportation Conformity? Since February 2009, over 300 practitioners from across the country have participated in FHWA's What is Transportation Conformity? webinar. This one-hour webinar is geared to those new to the conformity regulations. To date, participants have included professionals with peripheral exposure to conformity, such as safety engineers, to those who expect to have additional conformity responsibilities in the future. Attendees have said it is "an excellent introductory class," "just the right level of detail," and that "the course was really helpful." As each session fills to capacity, FHWA will continue to offer sessions as needed and is also preparing an on-demand version. The webinar is open to FHWA and their partners. To participate in a session scheduled for April, please register using the links below. These sessions are repeats of those offered in February and March.
To register for Thursday, April 2 from 3 to 4 p.m. eastern, visit http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webConfID=16636.
To register for Tuesday, April 14 from 10 to 11 a.m. eastern, visit http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webConfID=16637.
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.
FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team:
If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: email@example.com.