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Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Highlights

February 2013

Prepared by the Office of Natural Environment Federal Highway Administration - Publication Number FHWA-HEP-13-017

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Announcements and Recent Events

FHWA Releases Annual Fiscal Tables. The FHWA Chief Financial Officer has released the FY 2013 Supplementary Tables, providing detailed information on the year's apportionments covering all the major elements of the Federal-aid Highway Program. Of note to the transportation-environmental community, Table 13 breaks down the State-by-State apportionment of the CMAQ program, including the flexible funds available to minimum apportionment States, and the new priority set-aside created by MAP-21 for PM2.5 areas. The tables are available on the agency's Legislation & Regulations website.

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Assessment Study RFA Released. Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation included a provision directing the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) to undertake a study of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program (CMAQ). MAP-21 laid out specific instructions for the study, in terms of its goals, administrative elements, and reporting requirements, including the introduction of health impacts elements. The RFA for the CMAQ Assessment Study was released on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Applications are due by March 19. The RFA is available on the government grants website.

MOVES Regional Level Sensitivity Analysis Posted to FHWA, Air Quality Webpage. The purpose of this analysis is to inform MPOs, DOTs and other air quality practitioners about the sensitivity of selected MOVES input parameters associated with a regional level analysis. This document discusses the sensitivity of various input parameter effects on emission rates using the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) MOVES2010a model at the regional level. Pollutants included are carbon monoxide (CO), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOX), Particulate Matter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Results are presented using the predicted emission rates (grams/mile) for running exhaust and starts across multiple MOVES source types. The full Sensitivity Analysis is available on line and may also be accessed from the FHWA, Air Quality webpage under Conformity/models and methodologies. Questions regarding this web posting should be directed to Mark Glaze, Email: mark.glaze@dot.gov Phone: 202 366-4053

EPA Released MOVES2010b Revised Version. On Monday, February 4, EPA released an updated version of the MOVES2010b database in order to correct an error in the database that was originally released with MOVES2010b last April. This error affected only hydrocarbon emissions from the vapor venting process in gasoline vehicles after calendar year 2020. As a result of this error, the April 2012 version of MOVES2010b underestimated hydrocarbon emissions beginning in 2021. The error is small in 2021, but gradually increases with fleet turnover over time. EPA also posted an updated version of the MOVES2010b Q&A document that describes the correction and how it relates to SIP and conformity policy. The Q&A document recommends that MOVES2010b users switch to the corrected database, but also says that if significant work has occurred with the previous version of the MOVES2010b dataset, that work can be completed. For download instruction and update guidance documents, visit EPA's MOVES web page (www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/index.htm)

MOVES Grace Period for Use in Regional Emissions Analyses Ended on March 2, 2013. Any conformity regional emissions analysis started after March 2, 2013 must use MOVES2010. On February 27, 2012, the EPA published the Final Rule to extend the grace period for using MOVES in regional emissions analyses by one year, until March 2, 2013. EPA indicated that the extension of the grace period was due to the "unique circumstances" presented by the transition to MOVES from the MOBILE model including software, operational and technical differences between the two models. More information can be found at: MOVES Grace period extension.

EPA Launched the PM Advance Program. On January 17, 2013, EPA issued guidance for PM Advance Program a voluntary program that encourages PM attainment and maintenance areas nationwide to take near-term, proactive steps to improve air quality and ensure continued health protection over the long term. Actions undertaken as part of the program could result in air quality improvements that provide an improved buffer against future violations of the standard. PM Advance will encourage the use of local strategies to reduce fine particle pollution and will emphasize coordination with stakeholders. The PM Advance is part of EPA's broader, multi-pollutant Advance Program which also includes the Ozone Advance Program. For more information, visit EPA's website.

EPA Revised Particulate Matter Standard. On December 14, 2012, EPA finalized changes to the particulate matter (PM) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). EPA lowered the primary annual PM2.5 standard from 5 µg/m3 to 12 µg/m3. The 24-hour PM2.5 standards were retained at 35 µg/m3 as were the 24-hour PM10 standard (150 µg/m3). EPA did not finalize the proposed new secondary standard intended to address visibility. EPA also took action to require near road monitors in areas with a population over 1 million (to be co-located with NO2 near road monitors). EPA expects initial nonattainment designations in December 2014, effective early 2015. Areas will have five years to attain the standard (2020). Transportation conformity will be required in the newly designated nonattainment areas for the revised PM standards one year after the effective date of designations. For more information, visit EPA's website.

FHWA Resource Center Facilitated MOVES User Group Conference Calls. The MOVES User Group for MPOs met on February 12, and the MOVES User Group for Project Sponsors met on February 14. For those interested in attending future conference calls, contact Kevin Black by email (kevin.black@dot.gov) with a subject line stating: Add to MOVES Model User Group email list. In addition, specify if you want to be notified of sessions regarding the MPO-related issues or project-level issues or both, and provide your name, employer/affiliation, phone, and email address.

Reminders

Update to FHWA MSAT Guidance. On December 6, 2012, FHWA released an update to the Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSAT) Interim Guidance. This interim guidance update reflects U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) changes in methodology for conducting emissions analysis and updates of research in the MSAT arena. EPA released the latest emissions model, the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) in 2010, and started a 2-year grace period to phase in the requirement of using MOVES for transportation conformity purposes. EPA suggests following this grace period for other air quality analyses completed during the NEPA process, such as MSAT analysis. Therefore, after December 20, 2012, project sponsors should use MOVES when conducting emissions analysis for NEPA purposes. To prepare for this transition, FHWA updated the September 2009 Interim Guidance to incorporate the analysis conducted using MOVES. If you have any questions, please contact Victoria Martinez at 787-766-5600 X231, or by email (Victoria.martinez@dot.gov)

MAP-21 Highlights on Agency Websites. Presentations, questions & answers, and other vital information surrounding the legislation remain on FHWA's web pages. Both the CMAQ webinar presented in September and the Qs&As can be found on the MAP-21 website. Basic fiscal information is housed on the MAP-21 site as well, although the supplementary tables with more detailed breakdowns on the individual Federal-aid programs are found on the agency's Laws and Regulations page. CMAQ Public Access System Users: Input Requested. FHWA is soliciting input from state DOT and MPO/COG users of the CMAQ Public Access System for improvements to both the project search and reporting features of the software programming. With the official release of the CMAQ Public Access System in July of 2011, CMAQ project information from 1992 through 2009 became publicly available and searchable in various reporting formats. This has been the first opportunity for the general public to directly access information concerning FHWA-approved CMAQ Projects submitted through the annual reporting process. The Public Access System webpage, along with CMAQ system support and guidance information, is available at CMAQ Public Access System or may be accessed through most major search engines. Please direct your comments and suggestions to Mark Glaze, (202) 366-4053 or mark.glaze@dot.gov.

One year Conformity Determinations Grace Period for 2008 Ozone NAAQS Ends July 20, 2013. Conformity determinations on transportation plans and TIPs of the 2008 Ozone areas are due by July 20, 2013, one year after the effective date of the nonattainment designation. Also, since EPA revoked the 1997 ozone NAAQS for transportation conformity, 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

NTAQS Presentation and EPA MOVES for Non-Modelers Training Materials Available. All presentations and materials from the recent NTAQS 2012 Meeting are now available on-line at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) website at: NTAQS 2012. Access the presentations by going to the DVRPC website above, clicking on the NTAQS 2012 link in the lower right, and then clicking on the "Download Presentations" button.

Training Opportunities

Air Quality Planning Web Course Now Available. A new course entitled Clean Air Act Overview is now available. This course is the first in a series of air quality planning courses specifically designed for transportation practitioners. (Additional courses coming soon.) The web-based course is free via the National Highway Institute and covers such topics as the purpose and history of the Act, specific provisions related to transportation, and an overview of the impacts of the Act. For more information, visit www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov, course number NHI-FHWA-142068. Please contact Karen Perritt (Karen.perritt@dot.gov) with any questions.

Conformity 101 Training Available On-Line. FHWA made a short course entitled "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 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 John Byun (Joon.Byun@dot.gov) or Paul Heishman (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 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.

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: Victoria.Martinez@dot.gov.

Updated: 07/10/2014
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