[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 87 (Friday, May 6, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-10898]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: May 6, 1994]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Transit Administration
[FHWA/FTA Docket No. 94-11]

 

A Review of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement 
Program; Public Meeting; Request for Comments

AGENCIES: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit 
Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments; public meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FHWA and the FTA request comments which will be used in 
developing and conducting a review of the Congestion Mitigation and Air 
Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program, to be undertaken by the FHWA and 
the FTA in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 
The review's purpose is to determine whether the CMAQ program is 
meeting its goals under the Intermodal Surface Transportation 
Efficiency Act (ISTEA), Public Law 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914, and the 
Clean Air Act (CAA) as amended in 1990, Public Law 101-549, 104 Stat. 
2399, to support transportation measures intended to assist 
nonattainment areas in meeting the National Ambient Air Quality 
Standards (NAAQS) and to maximize the program's effectiveness. Comments 
are solicited on the structure and content of the program review, 
specific policy questions raised in this notice, and other areas of 
policy and implementation which should be investigated.
    This notice also announces a public meeting to be held on June 2, 
1994. The purpose of the meeting is also to solicit input for the 
review. Those intending to participate are asked to notify Mr. Mike 
Savonis at the number listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
caption below.

DATES: Comments should be received on or before June 20, 1994. The 
public meeting will be held on June 2, 1994 at 11 a.m.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the Nassif Building, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Room 2230, 400 Seventh Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20590. Submit written, signed comments to FHWA/FTA 
Docket 94-11, Federal Highway Administration, Room 4232, HCC-10, Office 
of Chief Counsel, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590. All 
comments received will be available for examination at the above 
address between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except legal Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt 
of comments must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
postcard.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mike Savonis, Office of 
Environment and Planning, FHWA at (202) 366-2080 or Mr. Abbe Marner, 
Office of Planning, FTA at (202) 366-0096. Office hours are from 7:45 
a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t. Monday through Friday, except legal Federal 
holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

(I) Background

    Authorized at $6 billion for years 1992-1997, the CMAQ Program 
provides funds to States for transportation projects and programs that 
will contribute to attainment of an NAAQS. The Program focuses 
primarily on reductions in ozone precursors (hydrocarbons and oxides of 
nitrogen) and carbon monoxide emissions, but under certain conditions 
funds may be expended on projects to reduce small particulate matter 
(PM-10), as well. Typical projects include: development of HOV lanes, 
improvements to public transit facilities and equipment, traffic 
signalization and incident management improvements, bicycle and 
pedestrian projects, new ridesharing services, and establishment of 
vehicle inspection and maintenance programs.
    The FHWA and the FTA, in consultation with the EPA, issued guidance 
providing eligibility criteria to govern CMAQ program expenditures on 
October 16, 1992. A series of questions and answers were also issued 
subsequent to the program guidance to address specific issues and 
eligibility questions as they have arisen. The program guidance was 
published in the Federal Register on January 4, 1993 (58 FR 146) and, 
with the questions and answers, is available through the Federal 
Electronic Bulletin Board System (202-366-3764). In addition, a 
brochure, ``A Guide to the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality 
Improvement Program,'' was issued in January 1994.
    Three apportionments have been made for fiscal years 1992-1994, 
making a total of $2.7 billion available for the States' use. In FY 
1992, $340 million was obligated by all States which was 42 percent of 
the amount available. In FY 1993, $600 million was obligated for a rate 
of 62 percent. Overall, $940 million was obligated during the program's 
first two years for a cumulative rate of 53 percent. Unobligated funds 
under the CMAQ program lapse and are no longer available to the States 
after four years from the beginning of the fiscal year for which they 
were apportioned.

(II) Proposed Purpose and Scope

    As with any new program, implementation of the CMAQ program has 
generated questions about new areas of eligibility, the purpose and 
effectiveness of funded projects and the coordination processes between 
transportation and air quality agencies at the Federal, State and local 
levels. Consequently, a review of CMAQ program implementation will be 
undertaken, as noted in the FHWA-FTA program guidance of October 16, 
1992.

(A) Purpose

    The review has two intended purposes: (1) To determine whether the 
CMAQ Program is meeting its goals under ISTEA and the CAA to support 
transportation measures intended to assist nonattainment areas to meet 
the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, and (2) to identify how the 
CMAQ program's benefits can be maximized.

(B) Objectives

    (1) To evaluate the kinds of projects funded under the CMAQ 
program, their emission reductions, cost-effectiveness, the length of 
time the funding process took, and other attributes, and to determine 
what was not funded.
    (2) To determine what transportation control measures (TCMs) have 
been included in the States' Implementation Plans and whether funding 
sources have been identified for them.
    (3) To raise key issues, like the air quality impacts of various 
TCMs such as traffic flow improvements, possible obstacles to 
innovative projects, etc., and to evaluate those issues.
    (4) To identify any barriers or constraints to effective program 
implementation, especially with respect to coordination processes 
between transportation and air quality agencies at the Federal, State 
and local levels.
    (5) To identify, document and disseminate examples of well-thought-
out projects, project development and coordination processes, and 
transportation/air quality analytical techniques for each of the 
transportation-related pollutants.
    (6) To determine the effectiveness of current guidance, with an eye 
toward possible mid-course policy adjustments.
    (7) To determine how projects funded under the CMAQ program affect 
greenhouse gases.

(C) Approach

    The review will be conducted by the FHWA and the FTA, in 
cooperation with the EPA. It will be conducted in an open way to 
solicit concerns, recommendations and issues from all interested 
parties, including environmental groups, transportation agencies, 
energy interests, State air quality agencies and others.
    A public meeting will be held to solicit ideas from any group 
wishing to comment, especially national transportation and air quality 
groups, State and local agencies, environmental interest groups, 
industry groups, and other interested parties. Those commenting should 
address the structure of the review, relevant policy questions, and 
their experience in program implementation. The need for a second 
meeting to describe review findings will be determined as the 
evaluation progresses.
    The review will focus on the effectiveness of current policies and 
guidance as implemented at the project level. As such, the review will 
begin and end with policy considerations, but any potential changes in 
policy will be based on a review of specific projects and existing 
coordination processes. Issues will be examined from both a public 
policy and legal perspective with review of the CMAQ provisions of the 
ISTEA (Section 1008) and other relevant provisions of the ISTEA or CAA, 
as necessary.

(D) Policy Questions

    Several policy questions have arisen as CMAQ program implementation 
has progressed. They serve as a starting point for the review. Other 
policy considerations will be evaluated as they arise. Current 
questions include:
    (1) Have the needed coordination mechanisms between the 
transportation and air quality communities at the Federal, State and 
local levels been established? Have they been effective? What have the 
impediments been? What can Federal agencies do to smooth coordination 
processes?
    (2) How effective are the projects that have been funded under the 
CMAQ program in reducing transportation emissions? How can their 
effectiveness be improved? Is it possible at this time to identify the 
types of projects that have the greatest air quality impact?
    (3) What are the short term and long term impacts of funded 
projects? How should these considerations be included in the 
determination of funding priorities under the CMAQ program?
    (4) Will the low obligation rate for the first two years of the 
program ultimately result in the lapsing of Federal funds? What can be 
done to avoid this?
    (5) How should projects that have the potential to increase oxides 
of nitrogen be treated? Should they be eligible as long as aggregate 
emissions are reduced in line with the Clean Air Act's conformity 
requirements?
    (6) Under current guidance, new or expanded rideshare services are 
eligible for CMAQ funds, but the routine funding of existing services 
for ridesharing, transit, traffic control and inspection and 
maintenance programs, etc., is ineligible. Is the current policy too 
restrictive because it assumes that further emission reductions will 
not result by funding currently existing services?
    (7) Traffic flow improvements are legislatively eligible for CMAQ 
funding as a transportation control measure identified in the Clean Air 
Act. What are the pros and cons of funding these projects for emission 
reduction purposes? Should changes be pursued to exclude them from 
eligibility?
    (8) Under the current legislation, projects in a nonattainment area 
are no longer eligible for CMAQ funds once the area achieves attainment 
of the NAAQS and is redesignated as a maintenance area. Would a change 
to allow the use of CMAQ funds in newly redesignated areas constitute 
good public policy even if the State's remaining nonattainment areas 
lose CMAQ funds as a result?
    (9) Projects that are not expected to contribute to emission 
reductions prior to the scheduled attainment date under the Clean Air 
Act are not eligible for CMAQ funds. Should any project which reduces 
emissions be eligible even if it is scheduled for completion after the 
attainment date?
    Should a project whose construction is not expected to start until 
after the attainment date be eligible?

(E) Project-Level Review

    The project-level review will focus on implementation of the CMAQ 
program in the 10 States with the worst ozone and carbon monoxide 
pollution. These States receive the largest apportionments under the 
CMAQ program, almost two-thirds of each year's total. The States and 
their share of apportionments are: 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Percent 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
California...................................................       14.8
Texas........................................................        9.9
New Jersey...................................................        5.8
Ohio.........................................................        4.4
Maryland.....................................................        3.1
New York.....................................................       10.5
Pennsylvania.................................................        6.0
Illinois.....................................................        4.9
Massachusetts................................................        4.1
Florida......................................................        3.0
                                                                        
                                                              ----------
    Total....................................................       66.5
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If time permits, the projects funded under the CMAQ program in one 
State in FHWA Regions 7, 8 and 10 will also be reviewed.
    Each State will be visited by FHWA, FTA and EPA representatives to 
conduct interviews with Federal, State, and MPO officials and other 
interested parties. A sample of each State's projects will be examined 
in detail in light of the policy considerations above, the program 
guidance, and other factors as they arise. A representative sample will 
be developed in keeping with standard review and statistical 
procedures.
    Sources of information on the CMAQ program as a whole will also be 
consulted. Such sources will include the States' annual reports on CMAQ 
program obligations, DOT fiscal and management reporting data, and 
reports on the program from government and nongovernment agencies.
    To determine the CMAQ program's impact on greenhouse gases, 
information will be taken from the States' annual reports on funded 
projects and other sources, and background information on carbon 
dioxide emissions from transportation sources.

(F) Expected Schedule

    Site visits to the States mentioned above will be conducted in the 
spring and early summer of 1994. A final report providing findings and 
recommendations will be released later in the year, with additions or 
changes to the program guidance to follow, as necessary. The report 
will be available from the FHWA Office of Environment and Planning 
hotline at (202) 366-2069.

    Issued on: May 2, 1994.
Rodney E. Slater,
Federal Highway Administrator.
Gordon J. Linton,
Federal Transit Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-10898 Filed 5-5-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P