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Transportation Conformity Highlights

October 2006

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

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Announcements

No Current Conformity Lapses. As of October 2, there were, for the first time in many years, no areas anywhere in the U.S. where transportation conformity has lapsed. Congratulations to all for meeting this unprecedented milestone!

DC Circuit Court Vacates a Provision of the Transportation Conformity Rule.On October 20, 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals from the District of Columbia Circuit filed an opinion vacating a provision of the conformity rule. 40 CFR 93.109(e)(2)(v) allowed areas to use the interim emissions tests instead of the 1-hour budget test where the interim tests could be shown to be more appropriate for ensuring that the plan, TIP, or project would not create new violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the 8-hour ozone standard. The EPA and the FHWA are assessing the implications of this opinion. All other provisions regarding the use of the interim emissions tests remain unaffected by the court decision. A copy of the opinion is available at: http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200610/04-1291a.pdf (PDF-149Kb)

MOVES Schedule Update. . U.S. EPA is working to develop the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) as an eventual replacement for the MOBILE6.2 and NONROAD models for mobile source emissions. While EPA indicates it is making good progress, due to some technical areas that require additional analysis, EPA no longer expects to release a draft model at the end of 2006. For more information on the MOVES model contact the MOVES team by email at mobile@epa.gov.

EPA Strengthens Particulate Standards. On September 21 EPA announced the strengthening of the daily (24-hour) fine particulate standard (PM2.5) by nearly 50 percent, from 65 micrograms per cubic meter to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. EPA is also retaining the current annual standard for long-term exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) at 15 micrometers per cubic meter. With respect to PM-10, EPA is retaining the existing daily (24-hour) PM10 standard of 150 micrometers per cubic meter and is revoking the annual coarse particle standard (PM-10) because available evidence does not suggest an association between long-term exposure to course particles at current ambient levels and health effects. States must meet the revised standards by 2015, with a possible extension to 2020, depending on local conditions and the availability of controls. For more information: see: http://epa.gov/pm/actions.html.

EPA Amends its National Air Quality Monitoring Requirements. On September 27 EPA announced changes in its air quality monitoring requirements. The changes will affect monitoring for six criteria pollutants and their precursors. The six pollutants are: ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particle pollution (also call particulate matter) and lead. EPA's announcement indicates that there will continue to be a national network of monitors for each criteria pollutant, but the improved network will be more strategic and more efficient. Changes include adding new monitors for some pollutants, allowing states to shutdown unneeded monitors, and changes in locations of some types of monitors. For more information, see: http://epa.gov/pm/actions.html.

TCM Delegation Authority Assigned to EPA Regional Administrators. EPA Administrator, Steve Johnson recently signed delegation authority for TCM additions and substitutions to the Regional Administrators. The EPA Regional Administrators may also delegate down this authority to the EPA Air Division level.

Call for Papers - Transportation, Land-Use Planning, and Air Quality Conference 2007: The next in a series of Transportation Land-Use, Planning, and Air Quality Conferences will be held on July 9 - 11, 2007 in Orlando, Florida. The focus of the conference, which is jointly sponsored by several organizations, is the latest developments in transportation planning and land use modeling and new developments and strategies in air quality including transportation planning and land use planning processes that result in air quality benefits. The conference will focus on the technical and data implications of transportation land-use planning. Abstracts of 250 words or less should be submitted by November 20, 2006. For additional information see: http://www.ctre.iastate.edu/educweb/transaq/transaq2007.htm.

Training Opportunities

National Transit Institute Course: Introduction to Transportation Conformity. The NTI course, Introduction to Transportation Conformity has been updated to reflect SAFETEA-LU changes and new information about PM2.5 requirements. The course will be offered November 28-30, 2006 in Chicago, IL; 12-14 in New York City, NY and January 16-18 in Las Vegas, NV. . These are three of the four course offerings to be scheduled between September 2006 and July 1, 2007. The location of the fourth course offering is in Raleigh, NC, with a specific date yet to be determined. For information see: http://www.ntionline.com/.

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.

If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: ssiwek@aol.com.

FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team Contacts:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/index.cfm.

Updated: 07/06/2011
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