Prepared by the Office of Natural Environment Federal Highway Administration - Publication Number FHWA-HEP-12-049
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EPA Proposes PM NAAQS. On June 14, EPA proposed to lower the annual PM2.5 standard to a level within a range of 12 to 13 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) from the current 15 ug/m3 annual PM2.5 standard. EPA did not propose any change to the existing 24-hour PM2.5 standard or the existing 24-hour PM10 standard. However, the proposed rule includes a new distinct secondary PM2.5 standard designed to address visibility issues. The proposal also contains changes to the PM2.5 monitoring requirements, including requiring a near road PM2.5 monitor to be collocated with a near road NO2 monitor in urban areas with a population greater than 1 million. A federal court ordered EPA to sign the proposed PM standards by June 14, 2012 because the agency did not meet its five-year legal deadline for reviewing the standards. EPA will accept public comment for 63 days after the proposed standards are published in the Federal Register, with two public hearings; one in Sacramento, CA. and one in Philadelphia, PA. Final standards are to be issued by December 14, 2012. For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/pm/actions.html#jun12.
FHWA's Program Policy and Guidance Center is Available to Public. The establishment of the Federal-aid Highway Program Policy and Guidance Center (PGC) was first announced in 2010. The PGC allows users to access all current, official Federal-aid documents from one website and will be a key tool in providing consistency throughout the agency. The PGC has been moved to FHWA's Web site and is now available to the public at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pgc/.
EPA Promulgates Final 2008 Ozone Designations. On May 21, EPA published two final rules relating to the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. One rule establishes the method for classifying areas under the 2008 ozone NAAQS, establishes attainment dates, and revokes the 1997 ozone NAAQS for transportation conformity purposes. The second rule finalizes the designations for nonattainment areas under the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Forty-five areas in twenty-six states are designated nonattainment. The vast majority of areas are designated as marginal (35 areas), three areas are designated serious, three areas are designated severe and two areas are extreme nonattainment areas under the 2008 ozone standard. In addition, the multi-state area that includes Chicago and parts of Wisconsin and Indiana was designated on June 11, 2012. Both final rules are effective on July 20, 2012 with conformity determinations on transportation plans and TIPs of the 2008 Ozone areas due one year from the effective date, by July 20, 2013. The revocation of the 1997 ozone NAAQS for transportation conformity will occur one year after the effective date, i.e., conformity for the 1997 ozone NAAQS will no longer apply after July 20, 2013. . For more information, go to: (1) 2008 Ozone NAAQS Classification Final Rule, (2) 2008 Ozone NAAQS Designations Final Rule,and (3) EPA 2008 Ozone NAAQS Website
EPA Releases New Tool for Generating OpMode distributions for MOVES Intersection Analyses. EPA recently posted a spreadsheet tool to assist users with MOVES project-level analyses of intersection projects. This tool will improve the "average speed" option for defining intersection links by allowing the user to explicitly define vehicle idling behavior. The user will specify a link average speed, grade, and idle fraction. The tool subsequently queries from a database of MOVES default OpMode distributions for the given average speed and grade, adds in the user-defined idle fraction, and re-normalizes the OpMode distribution. The product is an OpMode distribution table that can be imported into the MOVES project data manager. Note that this tool is intended for CO and PM analyses only and can be used for all vehicle types. For more information, see EPA's Tools for MOVES website.
TRB Transportation and Air Quality Committee Summer Meeting. The mid-year meeting of the TRB Air Quality and Transportation Committee (ADC20) will be held in Little Rock, Arkansas from June 24-27. The meeting is jointly sponsored by the Environmental Analysis in Transportation Committee (ADC10) and the Ecology and Transportation Committee (ADC30). For more information, visit the TRB Environmental Summer Meeting website.
Mark Your Calendar for NTAQS 2012. The Northern Transportation Air Quality Summit (NTAQS) 2012 will be held in Philadelphia in August 2012. This year's summit will be co-sponsored with FHWA, EPA's Region 1, 2, and 3 Offices, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Topics cover issues such as regulations and their impacts to the region, analysis and modeling requirements, climate change, programs such as CMAQ and other topics related to transportation and air quality. The summit also will provide some opportunities for training on policy or technical topics. For more information contact Kevin Black at 410-962-2177 or Kevin.Black@dot.gov.
President Signs 90-day Extension of Federal Highway and Transit Programs. On March 30, President Obama signed a 90-day extension of federal highway and transit programs. The measure, (H.R. 4281: Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012) also continues the flow of motor fuel taxes, heavy-duty truck, and truck tire taxes into the Highway Trust Fund. This ninth extension of SAFETEA-LU expires on June 30, 2012. The full Senate recently approved S. 1813, a two-year $109 billion extension of surface transportation programs and the House has proposed a five-year $260 billion reauthorization. Both Senate and House members have agreed to continue advancing legislation through a Conference committee. after the two-week Easter break. For more information, see: H.R. 4281.
Continuation of the CMAQ 100 percent Federal Share Flexibility. 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 (see article above). 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.
EPA Releases Revised Version of MOVES. EPA released a revised version of MOVES, known as MOVES2010b, together with updated guidance documents and a list of questions and answers on April 23, 2012. According to EPA, MOVES2010b is a minor revision to MOVES2010, and therefore will not restart the grace period before the model is required for conformity purposes. To download MOVES2010b and to obtain copies of updated policy and technical guidance documents, go to EPA's MOVES website.
EPA Posts Transportation Conformity Regulations Including Restructuring Amendments and MOVES Grace Period Extension. On April 13, 2012, EPA posted on their website the revised transportation conformity regulations that include the two recent amendments to the transportation conformity rule. The amendments included: (1) restructured two sections of the rule to ensure that requirements apply to new or revised NAAQS, and (2) the 12-month extension of the MOVES2010 grace period for regional emissions analysis. A copy of the revised transportation conformity regulations is available at: Final Conformity Regulation April 2012.
EPA Releases Implementation Guidance for 2006 24-Hour Fine Particle Standard. On March 5, 2012, the EPA released implementation guidance for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. The document provides guidance on developing State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to demonstrate compliance with this NAAQS. SIPs for the areas designated nonattainment for this standard in 2009 are due by December 14, 2012. The guidance covers most aspects of implementation of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS and how it is similar to or different from the implementation of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. A discussion concerning on-road inventories and motor vehicle emissions budgets is included. A copy of the guidance can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t1pgm.html
MOVES/EMFAC 2-year Grace Period for Hot-Spot Analyses Started December 20, 2010. To access the Federal Register notice, guidance documents, and fact sheets, go to: EPA's Project Level Conformity.
National Transit Institute Introduction to Transportation Conformity Course Scheduled. The NTI course, Introduction to Transportation Conformity is now scheduled in Atlanta, GA on June 27-29. The two and one-half day course is free to employees of public agencies. For more information and to register, go to: NTI Conformity Training.
Transportation Conformity Training Courses. FHWA is sponsoring a two-day Introduction to Transportation Conformity training course in response to requests from various states. For more information or if you are interested in hosting a training session, please contact Sarah Siwek, FHWA's contractor for these courses at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
MySQL Training for MOVES Model Users. Two new training opportunities are now available for MOVES model users. A three-hour webinar provides an introduction to MySQL Query Browser and MOVES interface. A six-hour training over two days will enable users to do MySQL programming, write his/her own MySQL scripts and, manipulate MySQL databases including MOVES input and outputs. For more information or to schedule training, contact Joon.Byun@dot.gov or Paul.Heishman@dot.gov.
FHWA Resource Center Training Activities. FHWA's Resource Center Air Quality Technical Services Team is available to offer MOVES training and information is available at the Resource Center website.
EPA and DOT PM Hotspot Quantitative Analyses Training Scheduled. EPA and DOT have jointly developed a three-day training course on conducting quantitative PM hot-spot analysis using MOVES, and CAL3QHCR and AERMOD air quality dispersion models. Detailed information about this course, upcoming training schedule, and training materials and agenda can be found at: PM Hotspot Quantitative Analyses Training.
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.
FHWA HQ Transportation Conformity Team: