Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP): Section 5207 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) established the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). The goal of the STEP is to improve understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation, planning, and the environment. STEP is the only source of funds to conduct all FHWA research on planning and environmental issues.
On March 1, 2006, FHWA issued a Federal Register notice soliciting comments on the draft implementation strategy for the STEP program. On August 4, 2006, FHWA issued a second FR Notice announcing the implementation strategy of STEP.
Section 5207 of SAFETEA-LU requires stakeholder input to identify the research topics that should receive priority consideration in STEP. We need your feedback to make certain that research related to air quality and climate change concerns are properly prioritized for 2006-09 research funding. Research areas include:
STEP will fund research, field demonstrations, technical transfer, conferences and workshops. Stakeholder input will take priority and we encourage you to tell us whether air quality and climate research activities should be a priority for FHWA.
From now till September 15, 2006, FHWA invites stakeholders to review the revised implementation strategy and provide suggested lines of research that may be pursued within the FY' 07 STEP via the website at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step.
If you are interested in submitting research ideas, please follow these steps:
STEP #1: Visit http://knowledge.fhwa.dot.gov/cops/step.nsf (link inactive 5/12).
STEP #2: Under Feedback Topics, choose "Environment"
STEP #3: Under Environment, choose "Air Quality and Global Climate Change"
STEP #4: Fill out the one-page form with your ideas and submit
FHWA does not seek specific, detailed research proposals and discourages researchers from submitting proposals of that nature. Specific research work statements, if pursued under the STEP, would be crafted by FHWA, after careful consideration of stakeholder views. Grants and cooperative agreements are possible with a 50% match. Research contracts will not require a dollar match.
EPA Proposes Final Extension of the Deferred Effective Date for 8-hour Ozone in EAC Areas. On August 9, EPA published a proposed rule to extend the deferral of the effective date for 8-hour ozone in all 14 EAC areas. This would extend the effective date from December 31, 2006 to April 15, 2008. Comments on this proposed rule are due on September 8, 2006. For more information, see:
Report on EPA's Progress in Implementing National Academies' Recommendations on Estimating Health Benefits of Proposed New PM Standards.In January 2006, EPA announced proposed revisions to the PM standards. The proposed revisions result from EPA's requirement under the Clean Air Act to periodically review the appropriate air quality level at which to set national standards to protect public health, in this case, for particulate matter. In July, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report on EPA's implementation of 34 National Academies' recommendations to improve EPA's approach to estimating health benefits. The GAO found that EPA has applied, at least in part, 22 or about two thirds of the Academies' recommendations to its health benefit analysis of proposed revisions to the PM standards. EPA officials said that ongoing research and development efforts would allow the agency to gradually achieve more progress in applying the recommendations. EPA is under a court order to issue the final rule on particulate matter by September 2006 (American Lung Ass'n. v. Whitman, No. 1:03CV00778 (D.C. 2003). To see the GAO report go to: www.gao.gov/new.items/d06780.pdf. (407 KB. To view PDF files, you need the Acrobat® Reader®.
EPA Releases Second Draft Staff Paper on Possible Ozone Standard Revision.On August 8 EPA released its second draft Staff Paper evaluating the policy implications of the key studies and scientific information contained in the document Air Quality Criteria for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants. Based upon comments from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the public, EPA will prepare a final Staff Paper on the Ozone NAAQS review by Fall 2006. EPA is under a consent decree that requires a proposed and final rulemaking concerning its review of the Ozone NQAQS no later than March 28, 2007. For more information, see:
Mid-Atlantic Diesel Collaborative (MDC) and Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Association (MARAMA) Diesel Emission Workshop.A two-day training session will be held on August 21-22, 2006 in Philadelphia, PA to teach participants how to calculate emission reduction benefits from various diesel reduction strategies and how to use the reductions in transportation conformity and SIPs. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. on August 21 and end at noon on August 22. The draft agenda and registration information can be seen at: http://www.marama.org or at http://www.dieselmidatlantic.org, under the events section.
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. NTI will be scheduling four course offerings between September 2006 and July 1, 2007. 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 can be found at: www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/courses.cfm.
If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team Contacts: