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1 SAFETEA-LU Changes to the Transportation Conformity Rule February 21, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "1 SAFETEA-LU Changes to the Transportation Conformity Rule February 21, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 SAFETEA-LU Changes to the Transportation Conformity Rule February 21, 2008

2 2 Overview  Background on transportation conformity  SAFETEA-LU’s changes to Clean Air Act transportation conformity provisions  EPA’s final rule of January 24, 2008

3 3 Background: Conformity  Clean Air Act section 176(c) requires federally funded or approved transportation plans, programs, and projects to not: produce new air quality violations worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of standards  Required only in nonattainment and maintenance areas for transportation-related pollutants (ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide)

4 4 What is subject to transportation conformity?  Transportation plan: 20-year timeframe  Transportation improvement programs (TIPs): 4-year timeframe now  “Federal” projects: those which Receive FHWA or FTA funding Require FHWA or FTA approval  Impacts of regionally significant non-federal projects also included in plan/TIP conformity prior to approval, but no project-level conformity determination

5 5 Background: SAFETEA-LU and Conformity  SAFETEA-LU enacted August 2005, and its conformity changes applied upon its enactment  EPA and DOT issued a joint interim guidance February 2006 for use prior to our rule  EPA’s final rule, published January 24, 2008, covers 6 changes addressed by SAFETEA-LU  Final rule is consistent with interim guidance and practice to date

6 6 Frequency  SAFETEA-LU changed CAA’s required frequency of conformity determinations for transportation plans and TIPs from at least every 3 years to every 4 years  EPA’s final rule: Same as above  SAFETEA-LU also changed frequency of transportation plan and TIP updates to every 4 years Not a CAA change, but a transportation planning change Frequency of plans, TIPs, and conformity aligned

7 7 Deadline for Conformity When New Budget Established  SAFETEA-LU amended CAA to give 2 years to make a conformity determination when a new state air quality plan (SIP) budget is established Previously, conformity rule gave 18 months  EPA’s final rule: same as above

8 8 Conformity Lapse Grace Period  SAFETEA-LU amended CAA by: Establishing a 12-month lapse grace period that applies when a required conformity deadline is missed  EPA’s final rule: When a conformity deadline is missed, a lapse would occur only after a 12-month grace period During the grace period, projects could be found to conform if they were included in the most recent conforming plan and TIP

9 9 Shortening Timeframe of Conformity Determination  SAFETEA-LU changed CAA to allow MPOs to elect to shorten the period of time covered by a conformity determination  MPOs must consult state and local air quality agencies and solicit & consider public comment when making election  Shortened conformity timeframe must be the longest of: The first 10 years of the transportation plan The latest year that a SIP establishes a budget The year after the completion date of a project that is included in the TIP or needs approval before next conformity determination  Maintenance areas with an adequate/approved second 10-year maintenance plan: shortened timeframe is through end of second maintenance plan  EPA’s final rule: same as above. EPA’s rule gives this flexibility to isolated rural areas as well.

10 10 Conformity SIPs  A conformity SIP contains state and local procedures for conformity (rather than budgets or control measures). Once approved, it applies instead of Federal conformity rule for any aspects it covers  SAFETEA-LU changed CAA’s conformity SIP requirements. State’s conformity SIP needs to include only 3 provisions, instead of entire federal conformity rule: Consultation procedures – The 2 provisions where conformity rule requires state conformity SIPs to require “written commitments” – when measures are included in analyses (93.122(a)(4) and (c))  EPA’s final rule: same as above  EPA is also revising its 2004 conformity SIP guidance to be consistent with the final rule

11 11 TCM Substitutions and Additions  SAFETEA-LU changed CAA to allow TCMs to be substituted or added to an approved SIP without a formal SIP revision  Statute includes sufficient detail to implement; therefore, no need for regulations  EPA is also updating guidance for TCM substitution and addition (currently covered in Feb 2006 interim guidance)

12 12 For more information:  “Regulations” link on above page includes: EPA’s final SAFETEA-LU rule and fact sheet Transportation conformity regulations, as updated by SAFETEA-LU rule Clean Air Act section 176(c) as amended by SAFETEA-LU Current guidances that cover TCM substitution and conformity SIPs – soon to be updated


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