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Transportation Conformity Highlights

July 2010

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

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Announcements and Recent Events

EPA Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Transportation Conformity Rule Restructuring Amendments. EPA has proposed conformity rule amendments which would restructure two sections of the conformity rule so that existing requirements would apply for any new or revised NAAQS that are established. This would reduce the need to amend the transportation conformity rule in the future to reference a specific NAAQS. EPA is also proposing to require a near-term analysis year be used when using the budget test if the attainment year has already passed or has not yet been established. There will be a 30-day public comment period once the rule is published in the Federal Register. To see the rule and fact sheet, go to: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/conf-regs.htm.

EPA Releases Draft Transport Rule. On July 6, EPA released a draft Rule to Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone. The proposed rule would replace EPA's 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). The proposed new Transport rule would limit emissions of NOx and SO2 in 32 eastern states that are impacted by transport which affects their ability to attain and maintain the current PM2.5 and ozone NAAQS. EPA proposes to accomplish this through Federal Implementation Plans that limit emissions from electric generating units in 32 states. This action is intended to ensure that most areas attain the current PM2.5 and ozone NAAQS by 2014 or earlier. EPA will hold 3 public hearings on the proposed rule: Chicago (August 19); Philadelphia (August 26); and Atlanta (September 1). For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/progsregs/epa-ipm/transport.html.

FTA Seeks Input on Criteria for Evaluating Major Transit Projects. On June 3, FTA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking input on ways to evaluate proposed major transit infrastructure projects. FTA wants to find ways to evaluate the full range of investments from transit infrastructure, including making communities more livable, air quality improvements, and other factors. For more information, see: http://www.fta.dot.gov/newsroom/12288_11721.html

EPA Releases Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2011. In accordance with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, EPA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would revise the national Renewable Fuel Standard Program for calendar year 2011.
The proposed EPA rule sets annual standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and renewable fuels that apply to all gasoline and diesel produced or imported in year 2011. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/.

EPA Releases Final NAAQS for Sulfur Dioxide (SO2). The June 22 Federal Register included EPA's final new 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS which is set at a level of 75 parts per billion (ppb). The EPA is also revoking both the existing 24-hour and annual primary SO2 standards. The final rule is effective on August 23, 2010. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/sulfurdioxide/actions.html#jun10.

New Health Effects Institute Study on Air Toxics Risk Assessment. The Health Effects Institute (HEI) recently released a new study on risk assessment for butadiene, a mobile source air toxic. Butadiene is part of motor vehicle exhaust and may pose a human health risk. This effort is part of HEI's larger air toxics research program. For more information, see: http://pubs.healtheffects.org/view.php?id=344.

CARB Report Says Peak Ozone Concentrations Will Increase with Increasing Temperatures. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently released a study by University of California researchers that predicts that increases in temperatures due to climate change will result in higher peak ozone levels and additional days each year when some regions exceed the federal ozone standards. Coastal areas will benefit from increases in average wind speeds and average ozone levels across the state will decrease, but the increase in peak ozone concentrations in some areas could pose a set-back in meeting the federal ozone standards. For more information, see: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/apr/past/04-349.pdf.

EPA Clean Air Research Series Presentations Available on web. The EPA sponsors a research program with periodic presentations to key Washington, D.C. officials and legislative staff and leaders. To see the most recent presentations from well known researchers and medical professionals on the recent "Breathe Cleaner, Live Longer" seminar, go to: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/air40/seminars/

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. In 2006, EPA promulgated a new 24-hr PM2.5 standard. The effective date of designations for that standard was December 14, 2009; thereby making conformity required in those newly-designated areas by December 14, 2010. There is no lapse grace period for newly-designated areas. 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

REGISTER NOW!!! 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 or to register, visit www.nescaum.org, or contact Kevin Black at 410-962-2177 or Kevin.Black@dot.gov.

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. To access this course, see: http://fhwa.adobeconnect.com/whatisconformity/.

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: 08/09/2012
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