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Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Highlights

April 2011

Prepared by the Office of Natural and Human Environment Federal Highway Administration - Publication Number FHWA-HEP-11-023

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Announcements and Recent Events

AASHTO Report on State Practices on the Use of TCMs and Transportation Related RACMs in Approved and/or Submitted SIPs. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently posted a report that provides an overview on the use of Transportation Control Measures (TCMs) and Reasonably Available Control Measures (RACM) in seven states. The Air Quality Community of Practice (COP) is an ongoing effort by AASHTO to help states share information on emerging issues, state of the practice, research and data needs, and other air quality issues. The report provides references to research and reports and related regulatory and statutory information. The report can be found at: TCM/RACMs State Practices.

American Lung Association Releases 2010 State of the Air Report. The American Lung Association (ALA) recently released its 2010 State of the Air Report and noted that air is steadily getting cleaner; however, over 150 million Americans live in places that violate ozone and/or PM standards. The report is based on 2007-2009 data and shows the 25 largest metropolitan areas with the highest ozone levels experienced a decrease in pollution in 2009 and all but two of the 27 areas with the highest PM levels experienced an improvement. ALA attributes the improvements to the transition to cleaner diesel fuels and engines and the addition of pollution controls at coal-fired power plants. The report can be found at: State of the Air Report.

EPA Reports that Number of Lives Saved by Clean Air Act Continues to Grow. EPA issued a report that claims the Clean Air Act saved 160,000 lives last year . The report also indicates that the number of lives saved annually will exceed 230,000 by 2020. EPA estimates that by 2020, direct benefits from the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, mainly in the form of reductions in premature deaths, will reach almost $2 trillion. To see the report, go to: http://www.epa.gov/air/sect812/prospective2.html.

Health Effects Institute (HEI) Releases Report on the Impacts of Congestion Pricing in Air Quality in London. The HEI recently released this report which measures the possible health impacts associated with actions taken to improve air quality. The investigators used a multifaceted approach to exploring the impact of the London Congestion Charging Scheme on air quality, which involved a variety of emissions and exposure modeling techniques and analysis of air monitoring data. To see the report, go to: http://pubs.healtheffects.org/view.php?id=358.

FHWA Releases Transportation and General Conformity FAQs. FHWA recently released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the transportation and general conformity requirements. Transportation conformity applies to federal highway and transit projects, while general conformity applies to all other federal actions. However, certain transportation projects can involve federal actions that necessitate the evaluation of both transportation conformity and general conformity requirements. The FAQs provide responses to common questions and scenarios where these two sets of regulations may intersect and to clarify how the requirements should be met. The document is available on FHWA's Air Quality website.

Mark Your Calendar! Southern Transportation and Air Quality Summit (STAQS 2011), July 19-21. This year's STAQS will be held in Raleigh, NC from July 19-21 at the downtown Sheraton Hotel. A preliminary agenda is currently being worked on by the organizing committee and should be available soon. Contact Mike Roberts for more information.

Transportation Planning, Land Use, and Air Quality Conference, 2011. The Transportation Planning, Land Use and Air Quality Conference was held in San Antonio, TX on May 9-10, 2011. The agenda was packed full of sessions on air quality, modeling, land use, sustainability, and other timely topics. Sponsors included FHWA, TRB and associated committees, the Transportation Development Institute and the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State. The agenda and information are available at: TPLUAQ Conference.

Reminders

FHWA Clarifies Eligibility Issues Related to CMAQ Funds and Alternative Fuel Vehicles. FHWA recently clarified an issue related to the application of Federal, government-wide cost principles and the obligation and expenditure of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The applicable principles (2 CFR 225) require that costs be equitably allocated to benefiting cost objectives.

Title 23 funds cannot be used to fund general government operations, including the acquisition of vehicles that perform such general functions, e.g. police and firefighting. Cost allocation is required between the environmental elements in which we can participate and costs of state and local governments that are not eligible for Federal-aid Highway Program funding. While FHWA supports the use of alternative fuels and vehicles, CMAQ can only participate in the pro-rata share that benefits air quality. See 2 CFR 225 App. B. Selected Item of Cost, 19a(5), relating to General Government Expenses. Police and fire equipment are called out as explicit examples in this provision.

To accommodate States and other sponsors intending to avail themselves of CMAQ funds for alternative fuel efforts consistent with the Federal cost principles, FHWA may participate in the eligible portion of such vehicle purchases, limited to the marginal emissions-reducing elements of the project, e.g. the incremental cost difference between standard and AFV, the expected emissions reduction projected form AFV use, or other methodology for allocating costs to CMAQ eligible portions of the purchase.

For public fleet AFVs that provide a dominant transportation function, the full vehicle is eligible for participation. These types include transit buses, paratransit vehicles, freeway courtesy vans/tow trucks, incident management patrol vehicles, and others. While these types of acquisitions could be eligible for full participation, the 100 percent CMAQ cost sharing under the Energy Act is optional at the discretion of the State DOT.

Questions related to the this clarification should be directed to Michael Koontz, CMAQ Program Manager, or David Bruce in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

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. In practice, the Federal share flexibility is continued as it was on September 30, 2009, when SAFETEA-LU expired. Any questions related to the CMAQ program should be directed to Mike Koontz at (202)366-2076.

MOVES/EMFAC Grace Period for Hot-Spot Analyses Started December 20, 2010. 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.

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

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 Columbia, SC; Carson City, NV; and Springfield, MO. A session will be held in Charleston, WV on June 6 and 7. 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.

Conformity 101 Training Available On-Line. FHWA has made a short course titled "What is Transportation 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.

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: 04/04/2014
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