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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Subject: INFORMATION: CMAQ Eligibility for Idle-Reduction Measures

James M. Shrouds
Director, Office of Natural and Human Environment

FHWA Division Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers

Date: Date: August 25, 2003

Reply to: HEPN-10

The purpose of this memorandum is to convey existing agency policy and highlight provisions in the current Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program guidance document affecting idle-reduction measures.

This memorandum does not replace the formal CMAQ guidance document of April 28, 1999. It does, however, provide expanded guidance and more information on the eligibility of truck stop electrification (TSE) and other idle-reduction measures under the CMAQ program. This memorandum also complements our guidance memorandum of January 29, 2003, on "The Eligibility of Freight Projects and Diesel Engine Retrofit Programs." The guidance documents and other reference materials about the CMAQ program can be found at the following web address:

Idle-Reduction Measures

The Nation's freight system moved 14 billion tons of domestic freight valued at $11 trillion over 4.5 trillion ton-miles in the year 2000. Although trucks move the majority of domestic freight tonnage rail, water and air are important components in the overall freight transportation system. The efficiency and cost of freight movement are directly linked to economic growth and development. Unfortunately, long-duration idling related to freight movement has become the norm for business operation. Idling occurs at airports, ports, rail yards, truck stops, and at intermodal transfer points. Idling emits pollutants, consumes fuel, increases maintenance costs, produces noise, and may create operator rest and health problems. A concerted effort is now being initiated to address idling emissions from long-haul trucks and locomotives.

DOT and EPA have formed a partnership to work with State transportation and environmental agencies, and MPO's to accelerate the implementation of TSE projects on routes heavily traveled by long-haul trucks. DOT and EPA are currently working with TSE manufacturers, truck stop operators, trucking fleets, to identify appropriate locations and assist in jointly funding projects. Efforts are also being made to promote the use of on-board idle-reduction technologies for long-haul trucks and locomotives.

CMAQ Eligibility - Basic Provisions

A project to control extended idling could be eligible for DOT funding under the CMAQ program. Under the basic provisions of CMAQ, the project must demonstrate emission reductions and the idle-reduction project must be located within, or in close proximity to and primarily benefiting, a nonattainment or maintenance area. The project must also come from a conforming transportation plan and TIP. Funding for such projects may be carried out under the public-private partnership provisions of the program, which are discussed as item #4 on page 11 of the guidance. Partnership agreements must be carefully structured to spell out the activities and financial responsibilities of each partner, cost sharing, ownership of physical property and how public benefits are created in exchange for public funding. In addition, a 20 percent match is required, but a higher match share is encouraged.

CMAQ Eligibility - Commercial Activities on the Interstate System

Section 111 of Title 23 - "Agreements relating to use of and access to rights-of-way - Interstate System" - prohibits commercial establishments on interstate rights-of-way. The only exceptions within section 111 are "grandfathered" establishments and vending machines, newspaper racks, and phones - all other services provided to motorists must be free of charge.

Truck stops and other rest areas would likely charge a fee for the use of the TSE equipment. If so, FHWA could not approve TSE projects within the right-of-way of the Interstates since such activities are prohibited by section 111. And since they are not allowed at all, CMAQ funds could not be used to defray the costs.

Rest areas and truck stops located off of the Interstate are not subject to this provision. As such, CMAQ funding could be used for these projects provided that all other requirements are met.

Language was added to the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003 bill to exempt TSE services from the provisions of section 111. We will keep you informed if this provision is adopted and passed into law.

CMAQ Eligibility - Allocation of Emission Reductions

Currently, State practices may vary in the way they account for idling emissions from long-haul trucks in their SIP. Since transportation conformity only addresses on-road budgets, questions have been raised concerning how a State can allocate the emission reductions for idle-reduction projects in their on-road inventories.

Based on a recent determination by the EPA, the emission reduction benefits resulting from TSE projects can be accounted for in the transportation conformity determination. The Department and EPA are working to develop a final method to account for the credit.

We encourage staff to review the attached white paper on idle-reduction technologies and to become familiar with the freight initiatives supported under the CMAQ program. For any questions, please consult with Michael Koontz (202-366-2076) or Diane Turchetta (202-493-0158) of my staff. Their email addresses are and


cc: Directors of Field Services

Updated: 6/28/2017
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