October/November/December 2011 - Archive - Highlights - Conformity - Air Quality - Environment - FHWA
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Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Highlights

October/November/December 2011

Prepared by the Office of Natural and Human Environment Federal Highway Administration - Publication Number FHWA-HEP-12-009

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Announcements and Recent Events

EPA Withdraws Direct Final Rule entitled "Transportation Conformity Rule: MOVES Regional Grace Period Extension". On December 5, 2011, the EPA withdrew its direct final rule entitled "Transportation Conformity Rule: MOVES Regional Grace Period Extension" from the Federal Register. This direct final rule was published on October 13, 2011, and would have extended the current MOVES regional conformity analysis grace period for an additional year until March 2, 2013. Because the EPA received an adverse comment, they withdrew the direct final rule. The EPA intends to address the comment in a new final rule. In this new rule, the EPA will take final action on the proposed rule, also published on October 13, 2011, and which proposed the same additional year to the regional conformity grace period until March 2, 2013. The withdrawal notice is available at the EPA's website.

EPA Releases draft Near-road NO2 Technical Assistance Document. On December 22, the EPA released an updated draft of the Near-road NO2 Technical Assistance Document to assist stakeholders with the planning and siting processes for implementation of the Near-road NO2 monitoring requirements that were announced in February 2010. The latest draft reflects comments from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and federal, state, and local stakeholders. For more information, see: EPA Near-road NO2 TAD. The EPA also posted the results of the Near-road NO2 Monitoring Pilot Study which can be found at: EPA Near-road NO2PilotStudy.

EPA Agrees to Finalize Nonattainment Designations for the 2008 Ozone Standards by May 2012. Under a settlement agreement filed in Federal District Court in Arizona on December 12, 2011, the EPA has agreed to finalize the nonattainment designations under the 2008 Ozone NAAQS by the end of May, 2012. The settlement agreement is subject to public comment and must be approved by a Federal judge before it becomes effective. As part of the designation process, the EPA sent their recommended nonattainment counties to the states on December 9, 2011. These recommendations were based on either 2008-2010 or 2009-2011 data depending on availability, and list 43 areas in 26 states plus the District of Columbia as not meeting the standards. States and the public will have a chance to comment on EPA's recommendations before areas are designated nonattainment at the end of May 2012. Additional information about the December 9, 2011 recommendations is available on EPA's website.

New 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 and to write his/her own MySQL scripts and to manipulate MySQL databases including MOVES input and outputs. For more information or to schedule training, contact Joon.Byun@dot.gov or Michael.Roberts@dot.gov.

NHTSA and EPA Propose Fuel Economy Standards for Cars and Light Trucks. On November 16, EPA and NHTSA proposed new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light-duty trucks for model years (MY) 2017-2025. The proposal would result in an average of 56 miles per gallon (mpg) fuel efficiency for cars by 2025 and an average of 40.3 mpg for light-duty trucks by 2025. For more information, see: Proposed CAFE Standards.

Federal Appeals Count Upholds EPA's Particulate Matter Implementation Rule. On October 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld EPA's March 2010 PM Rule. Environmental groups had taken the position that new projects be required to address existing PM pollution problems in addition to offsetting their own emissions. The three-judge panel unanimously rejected the plaintiff's arguments. For more information, see: EPA PM Rule Upheld.

Apportionment Notice for October 1, 2011 - March 12, 2012 Released. On October 5, FHWA released the apportionment tables for funds under the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, Part II (Extension Act), title I of Public Law 112-30, which extended Federal highway programs until March 12, 2012. For more information, and tables of funds apportioned by state including Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds, see: Apportionments Oct 2011-March 2012.

Reminders

Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) Releases 2011 Urban Mobility Report. TTI issued the 2011 Urban Mobility Report that provides detailed information on traffic problems in 439 U.S. urban areas. The report notes that while the recession has provided temporary relief from growing congestion, when economic growth returns the average commuter will see an additional 3 hours of delay annually by 2015, up from 34 hours today. For the full report, see: 2011 Urban Mobility Report.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) Releases EMFAC2011. CARB recently announced the release of EMFAC 2011, California's emission factor model used in conformity. EMFAC2011 includes the latest information on vehicle population and miles traveled in California. This includes California's Truck and Bus rule and other diesel fleet rules, and recently adopted greenhouse gas regulations including the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the Pavley Clean Car Standard. It is important to note that EMFAC2011 has yet to be officially approved by EPA for use in SIP and transportation conformity analyses. EMFAC is only used in California and more information can be found at: EMFAC2011.

FY 2011 Supplementary Tables Released. On July 1, FHWA released a Notice to provide supplementary tables related to FY 2011 Apportionments under the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2010, as amended, and the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011. The Notice includes program-by-program, State-by-State apportionment amounts including information on the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). For more information, see: FY 2011 Supplementary Tables.

CMAQ Public Access System available on the FHWA's Air Quality Website. This release of the CMAQ Public Access System (PAS) makes searchable project information available for projects funded from 1992 through 2009. The PAS webpage along with CMAQ Project Tracking System support and guidance information will be reachable through the FHWA Air Quality CMAQ website. For questions related to the PAS or the Project Tracking System, contact Mark Glaze at (202)366-4053.

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. 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.

TRB 2012 Annual Meeting. The TRB 91st Annual Meeting will be held on January 22-26, 2012 in Washington, D.C. For more information and to register, go to: TRB 2012.

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.

MOVES2010's 24-Month Grace Period for Regional Conformity Analysis Started on March 2, 2010. For more information, see The Federal Register notice, EPA's website, and the MOVES website. See related story.

Training Opportunities

National Transit Institute Introduction to Transportation Conformity Course Scheduled. The NTI course, "Introduction to Transportation Conformity" is now scheduled to be offered in New York City on January 10-12, 2012, in Phoenix, AZ March 13-15, and in Chicago, IL on April 24-26. 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 ssiwek@aol.com.

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.

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. For further information, contact: Mike Roberts at (404)562-3928.

EPA and DOT PM Hotspot Quantitative Analyses Training Scheduled. The 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.

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EPA and FHWA Offer Two-Day MOVES2010 Training Course. The 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.

Contacts

FHWA HQ Transportation Conformity Team:

FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team:.

Past issues are available at FHWA's website. If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: ssiwek@aol.com.

Updated: 07/10/2014
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