Transportation Conformity

To preserve air quality, several areas in West Virginia, and the nation, are subject to the requirements of transportation conformity. Transportation conformity is a way to ensure that Federal funding and approval are given to those transportation activities which are consistent with air quality goals. It ensures that these activities do not worsen air quality or interfere with the "purpose" of the SIP, which is to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). According to the Clean Air Act, transportation plans, programs, and projects cannot:

 

1. Create new NAAQS violations;

2. Increase the frequency or severity of existing NAAQS violations; or

3. Delay attainment of the NAAQS.

 

EPA finalized its first transportation conformity rule in November 1993 40 CFR 93, subpart A. The federal rule underwent a series of revisions over the next decade and beyond, some of which were prompted by court decisions. States are now required to adopt three provisions of the federal conformity rule. The three required SIP elements are:

 

1. Consultation procedures [40 CFR §93.105];

2. Procedures for determining regional transportation-related emissions
    [40 CFR §93.122(a)(4)(ii)];
3. Enforceability of design concept and scope and project-level mitigation
    and control measures [93.125(c)].

 

The federal requirements apply to areas designated as nonattainment for one or more NAAQS, or which have been redesignated to attainment with federally approved air quality maintenance plans. EPA published a direct final approval of West Virginia’s most recent transportation conformity SIP in the May 2, 2008 Federal Register (73 FR 24175). The SIP includes a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) which detail the various responsibilities of the several entities involved in the transportation air quality evaluation and approval process. These include U.S. EPA, the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Authority (FTA), state departments of transportation (DOT), state air agencies and metropolitan planning organizations (MPO).

 

Responsible MPOs/DOTs should consult with DAQ for any Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTP) and/or Transportation Improvement Programs (TIP) that include projects in affected counties. As of February 1, 2010, the following counties and/or partial counties within West Virginia are subject to Transportation Conformity:

 

 

Area - Counties or
Partial Counties

Designated Nonattainment or Maintenance for:

Applicable Precursors

Charleston

      Kanawha

      Putnam


1997 PM2.5; and
2006 PM2.5


NOx;
direct PM2.5

Martinsburg

      Berkeley

1997 PM2.5

NOx; 
direct PM2.5

Weirton

       Brooke

       Hancock

1997 PM2.5; and 2006 PM2.5

NOx; 
direct PM2.5

 

Links to federal agency information about transportation conformity are shown below:

EPA: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/index.htm

FHWA: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/conform.htm

 

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