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Transportation Conformity Highlights

May 2010

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

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Note from the Office Director…

Beginning with the May issue, the Transportation Conformity Highlights will have a new name: Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Highlights. The new Highlights will be expanded to cover all transportation related air quality activities including information on transportation conformity, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program, Mobile Source Air Toxics, and other activities undertaken by the Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Team within the Office of Natural Environment. I am sure you will find this expanded newsletter even more informative. As always, please contact us if you have any suggestions and comments on the Highlights.

April Marchese
Director, Office of Natural Environment

Announcements and Recent Events

EPA Releases Draft Guidance for Quantitative Hot-Spot Analyses in PM2.5 and PM10 Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas. EPA recently released draft guidance on how to meet quantitative hot-spot analyses requirements in PM2.5 and PM10 nonattainment and maintenance areas. Comments are due on July 19, 2010. The draft guidance discusses how to conduct quantitative hot-spot analyses with the MOVES2010 model and, in California, with EMFAC2007. The quantitative hot-spot analyses requirements would apply, in PM2.5 and PM10 areas, to new highway and transit projects that are of air quality concern which means that the project would involve significant diesel truck or bus traffic. The process for conducting the analyses is shown in a helpful flow chart included in the draft guidance fact sheet. Once the guidance is finalized there will be a grace period until the quantitative requirements become effective. Until that time, the existing qualitative guidance would continue to apply. For more information on the guidance and where to submit comments, see: www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/policy.htm.

EPA would hold a webinar on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 from 2 - 4 PM (EDT) to discuss the draft guidance. Anyone who is interested should register through the following link:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/326440114

Prior to the webinar, EPA will send the agenda and materials to everyone who is pre-registered. We will also post the materials on EPA's website after the webinar.

If you have any questions that you would like answered at the webinar or have other questions related to the draft guidance, please send them to PMhotspot-comments@epa.gov. Contact Meg Patulski at Patulski.meg@epa.gov or (734) 214-4842 for questions on the webinar.

MOVES Errata and Default Database Released. EPA recently released a new default database that corrects some errors in the MOVES2010 database. This new database should be used in all new modeling with MOVES2010. The new database does not constitute a new version of MOVES2010 or change any requirements for use of MOVES2010 in SIP development or conformity. To access the new database and additional information, see: www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/movesdb20100515.zip.

EPA and DOT to Begin Work on New Fuel Economy Rules. The Administration recently announced that EPA and DOT would begin work on new fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks that would apply after 2017 and for the first time would expand fuel economy requirements to medium and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014 through 2018. Current fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks apply through 2016. The announcement also calls for EPA to further reduce non-greenhouse gas emissions (VOCs, NOx, SOx) from automobiles and trucks. For more information, see:http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-05-26/html/2010-12757.htm.

Union of Concerned Scientists Report That Improving Truck Fuel Economy Would Create Jobs. A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists claims that thousands of jobs would be created by investing in new technologies to improve fuel economy for medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles account for just 4% of all vehicles but consume 20% of diesel and gasoline. For more information, see:http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/The-Economic-Costs-and-Benfits-of-Improving-the-Fuel-Economy-of-Heavy-Duty-Vehicles.pdf.

American Public Health Association Report on the Hidden Costs of Transportation. The American Public Health Association recently released a report on the hidden costs of transportation including air quality impacts. Included in the study are a series of case studies including one in California by California State University at Fullerton that shows that meeting air quality standards would save $22 Billion annually in the South Coast region of Southern California and $6 Billion annually in the San Joaquin Valley. For more information, see: http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyres/E71B4070-9B9D-4EE1-8F43-349D21414962/0/FINALHiddenHealthCostsShortNewBackCover.pdf.

Health Effects Institute Report on Atmospheric Transformation of Diesel Emissions. The Health Effects Institute recently released Research Report 147, Atmospheric Transformation of Diesel Emissions. The report describes research by Dr. Barbara Zielinska and colleagues that studies the changes that diesel emissions undergo when mixed with ambient air. The study also evaluates how such changes impact the toxic properties of diesel emissions. For more information, see: http://pubs.healtheffects.org/view.php?id=339 .

EPA Encourages Fuel Conversions to Clean Energy Technologies. On May 7 U.S. EPA announced a proposal to streamline the process that provides manufacturers approvals to perform fuel conversions on vehicles. EPA proposes to replace a one-size fits all approach with an approach based on age of vehicle to be converted. EPA seeks to ensure that properly engineered conversion systems are used and that they do not increase emissions. Comments are due on July 23, 2010. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/fuels/altfuels/altfuels.htm.

Reminders

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.

In addition, FY 2010 Supplementary Tables - Apportionments Pursuant to the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2010 - were released on May 28th. Information on CMAQ funds authorized for FY2010 and apportioned to the States can be found in these tables. See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510727.htm.

Any questions related to the CMAQ program should be directed to Mike Koontz at (202)366-2076 or Michael.Koontz@dot.gov

2006 PM2.5 Nonattainment Areas Must Demonstrate Conformity by December 14, 2010. EPA published the Transportation Conformity Rule PM2.5 and PM10 Amendments in the Federal Register on March 24, 2010. The rule includes requirements for demonstrating conformity in 2006 PM2.5 areas, updates the baseline year to 2008 for interim tests in 2006 PM2.5 nonattainment and maintenance areas, discusses which budgets should be used in PM10 areas to demonstrate conformity now that the PM10 annual standard has been revoked, and clarifies that federally funded or approved highway and transit projects in PM2.5, PM10 and CO nonattainment and maintenance areas must not delay timely attainment or achievement of other interim milestones. The rule and additional information can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/conf-regs.htm.

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 (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-03-02/pdf/2010-4312.pdf). 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. EPA did not approve the use of MOVES2010 for project-level transportation conformity hot-spot analyses, which will be addressed in a future Federal Register notice. Guidance on implementing MOVES2010 for SIP development and conformity 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.

Upcoming Events

Save The Date for Northern Transportation Air Quality Summit (NTAQS). 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 are 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.

Contacts

FHWA HQ Transportation Conformity Team:

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: 07/10/2014
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