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Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program

Public Transportation

State and local governments can use CMAQ funding to support efforts to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) in both nonattainment and maintenance areas for carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O3). Nonattainment areas are those where air pollution levels exceed NAAQS. Maintenance areas are those that were out of compliance with NAAQS for these pollutants but now meet the standards.

How CMAQ Funds May Be Used in Public Transportation

For any proposed project, the sponsor must document its effects on vehicle emissions so the project can be compared with other CMAQ proposals to allow informed decisions on the best use of available funds.

Examples of Successful Public Transportation Projects

Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC: New, higher-capacity coaches were purchased for Maryland’s commuter rail service in the Baltimore-Washington region. CMAQ funds covered $290,000 of the $7.2 million cost.

Houston, TX: A reduced transit fare program was offered in August, when ozone readings are typically highest. CMAQ funds covered $2.6 million of the $3.5 million cost.

Lake Cook, IL: An employer-sponsored transit shuttle service operated between a commuter rail stop and a business park in a Chicago suburb. CMAQ funds covered $312,000 of the $390,000 cost.

New York City, NY: The 63rd Street-Queens Boulevard Transit Connection is a subway link constructed to facilitate travel between Queens and Manhattan. The project alleviated congestion on the jammed E and F lines running through Queens and resulted in approximately 31 hours per year in savings for the average Queens rider on the E, F, and R lines. CMAQ funds covered $44 million of the $645 million cost.

For more information, please contact:
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
Office of Natural Environment;
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.;
Washington, D.C. 20590

Updated: 10/4/2017
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