A submission for emissions

News AASHTO Journal August 02, 2002
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The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has released a report that recommends modifications to the Congestion Mitigation and Ai

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has released a report that recommends modifications to the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program when it is considered for reauthorization in 2003.


The CMAQ was enacted early in the 1990s to help areas with unacceptably polluted air meet strict deadlines imposed by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. CMAQ was reauthorized by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century in 1998.


States become eligible for CMAQ funds through application of a formula that weighs the severity of air-quality problems and population size. They finance "transportation control measures" which aim to reduce highway travel. CMAQ funds also can be used for vehicle inspection and maintenance programs and to pay for alternate-fueled fleets.


The TRB report looked into the program's effectiveness and cost when compared with other possible strategies for pollution and congestion mitigation. The appointed committee found strong support for CMAQ among regional transportation planners, operating agency staff, air quality officials and interest groups. But the study's authors said it was not possible to undertake a credible scientific quantitative evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of CMAQ at the national level.


Specific recommendations include continuing to give air quality improvement high priority; involving state and local air quality agencies more directly in weighing CMAQ spending proposals; broadening local project eligibility for CMAQ funding; and considering use of CMAQ money for land-use actions related to future emissions.


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