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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 APPENDIX D INTERVIEW GUIDE AND SITE VISIT RESULTS INTERVIEW GUIDE Introductory Questions Please describe in general terms your involvement with the CMAQ program and how that involvement may have changed over time. Note: Please provide contextual information on the nonattainment area, including population, employment growth, travel trends (VMT growth), nature of the air quality problem (i.e., nonattainment or maintenance area for which criteria pollutants). CMAQ Program Process and Decision-Making Procedures Who has the primary responsibility for the CMAQ program in your area? What role do the following entities play in project initiation, selection, or evaluation—state transportation department? MPO? state or local transit agency? state or local air agency? local interest groups? FHWA regional/divisional office? EPA divisional office? FHWA headquarters? FTA headquarters? EPA headquarters? How are projects nominated as candidates for CMAQ funding? Is guidance provided regarding project initiation? Where do CMAQ projects come from (e.g., previously programmed but unfunded, especially designed to meet CMAQ program goals)? How are projects selected for CMAQ funding? Is there a formal project selection process? If so, please describe. How is public input obtained? (Please provide written documentation if available.) To what extent does conformity (the need for projects that provide conformity credits) have a bearing on CMAQ project selection? Please elaborate. How are projects evaluated and who conducts the evaluation? Are project-level data collected on changes in travel behavior (e.g., trips, VMT, congestion effects, such as travel time
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 delays)? Who collects these data? (Please provide written documentation if available.) Are models and modeling techniques used to estimate travel effects and emission reductions for CMAQ projects? Is this true for all project categories? If not, what other methods are being used? Please describe. Who performs these analyses? (Please provide written documentation if available.) To what extent are secondary project outcomes considered in project selection and evaluation [e.g., factors such as effects on greenhouse gases, ecology, economic development, equity (welfare-to-work initiatives), community livability]? How are these effects measured? Who does the analysis? (Please provide written documentation if available.) How are project costs determined? Who determines them? Who uses the project evaluation information? Have changes been made—for example, in project design or selection—as a result of project evaluations? Reporting requirements Which agency is responsible for reporting information on CMAQ projects to FHWA? What role does your agency play, if any, in collecting this information? What information, if any, is gathered in addition to the reporting data required by FHWA? Should additional information be gathered? reported to FHWA? Would you recommend any changes in the FHWA reporting process? If so, please elaborate. Are ex-post project evaluations undertaken to determine whether desired travel changes and emission reductions and other project outcomes have been achieved? (Please provide copies of any such studies or analyses.) CMAQ Program Objectives What do you see as the primary goal of the CMAQ program? Are there other objectives addressed by the program (e.g., mobility enhancement, community livability)? Please describe.
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 What role does the CMAQ program play in the area’s air quality planning process and conformity requirements for meeting regional air quality goals? How does the CMAQ program fit into local transportation plans and objectives? If CMAQ program funding were not available, would these types of projects be undertaken? If so, what funding sources would be used? Would project delays be likely? If not, why not? Are there particular types of projects that would not likely be funded without the CMAQ program? What would be the impact on regional air quality or other program objectives if these projects were not undertaken? Please explain. In your opinion, which types of CMAQ projects come closest to achieving program goals of reducing mobile source emissions and improving air quality? Why? In your opinion, which projects are most effective in reducing congestion? Why? Is cost-effectiveness a criterion in selecting CMAQ projects for funding? How important a criterion relative to the others? In your opinion, which types of CMAQ projects are most cost-effective? Why? Please comment on the cost-effectiveness of CMAQ projects relative to other control strategies for reducing pollution (e.g., vehicle technology improvements). CMAQ Program Evaluation What do you see as the main strengths of the CMAQ program? What do you see as the main program weaknesses? What effects, if any, has the program had on agency or interagency decision making? What changes, if any, should be made in program implementation? Please elaborate. Do you think the CMAQ program should be continued in the next reauthorization of TEA-21? If so, please elaborate on the reasons. Do you think the scope of the program should be broadened to include additional types of projects? additional pollutants of concern
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 (e.g., air toxics)? If so, please elaborate. If CMAQ funding were to remain constant at current levels, would you still support broadening the program scope? Please explain. If you could change the program, what are the two or three key changes you would make? ALBANY SITE VISIT Introduction The Capital District area includes the metropolitan areas of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties. The region is designated a marginal nonattainment area for ozone, although it has not been in violation of the ozone standard for several years now. Formal redesignation as a maintenance area will be sought, but contingency measures to include in a maintenance plan have not yet been identified. The Capital District area is a midsized metropolitan area, with a current population of approximately 800,000 according to the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDTC 2000, 8). Population, number of households, and employment are estimated to increase by approximately 4, 7, and 2 percent, respectively, between 2000 and 2015, indicating a slow-growth area (CDTC 2000, 8). Travel growth is expected to increase somewhat more rapidly, with average daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and peak-hour VMT both rising by 17 percent between 2000 and 2015 (CDTC 2000, 17). Transit accounts for 2 percent of total travel and 4 percent of work travel in the region. Transit ridership increased 4 percent in 1999, reversing a history of declining ridership. It is too early to tell whether the upswing in ridership will continue. CMAQ Program Process and Decision-Making Procedures The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC)—the metropolitan planning organization (MPO)—has the primary responsibility for programming CMAQ funds in the Albany area. New York State (NYS) has a decentralized process for managing the CMAQ program. The NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) allocates funds to eligible nonattainment and maintenance areas by NYSDOT region using the same formula by which national-level
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 CMAQ funds are allocated to the state. By this metric, the Capital District Area typically receives about 4 percent of NYS’s annual CMAQ allocation—between $4 million and $5 million each year.1 CDTC does not have a separate process for identifying, selecting, and programming CMAQ projects. CMAQ is one funding source among several [e.g., National Highway System funds, Surface Transportation Program (STP) flexible and urban funds] that are used to fund projects included in the area’s 5-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). That being said, the area has a rigorous process for identifying programming priorities and selecting individual projects for inclusion in the TIP—the outgrowth of an exhaustive long-range planning process that resulted in the adoption of a long-range Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) in March 1997 (CDTC 1999, 21–25). The “New Visions Plan,” as it is known, calls for a balanced transportation system that emphasizes preservation over new capacity, links transportation with land use, and provides for modes other than cars. Budgets for some 17 project categories are defined, and individual projects are selected within categories for inclusion in the TIP on the basis of merit (with a heavy emphasis on cost–benefit analyses), adjusted by other considerations, such as essentiality of facilities and geographic balance (CDTC 1999, 27). CMAQ eligibility and emission reduction estimates are noted for relevant projects, but air quality is not an explicit project selection criterion. That being said, projects that are eligible for and use CMAQ funds must demonstrate emission reduction potential. The CDTC Policy Board, composed of the chief elected officials of each of the region’s eight cities and four counties, at-large members of the area’s towns and villages, representatives of NYSDOT, the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, the New York State Thruway Authority, the Albany County Airport Authority, the Albany Port District Commission, and advisory members from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit 1 In each of federal fiscal years 1998 and 1999, NYSDOT reserved $30 million in CMAQ apportionments for high-speed rail projects throughout the state (NYSDOT 1998; NYSDOT 1999).
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Administration (FTA), selects projects for inclusion in the TIP by unanimous consent. In addition to CDTC, the major players involved in proposing and programming CMAQ projects are NYSDOT (Region 1 Office) and CDTA. CDTC conducts the analytical work for all projects, including CMAQ-eligible projects. In the latter case, for projects that can be modeled, travel forecasts are made on the basis of the CDTC travel demand model [Systematic Traffic Evaluation and Planning (STEP) Model]. Emission reductions for hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides are then estimated using a postprocessor, which links emission rates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) MOBILE model to the travel model output.2 NYSDOT and CDTA often provide the raw data or preliminary estimates for the travel analysis. NYSDOT collects the project information, including the emission estimates, from all CMAQ-eligible areas in the state and prepares a summary for FHWA. CMAQ Program Objectives The primary role of the CMAQ program in the Capital District area, according to those interviewed, is to provide a flexible funding source that enables more projects to be funded in categories that match New Visions priorities. Without CMAQ, the TIP would be even more heavily weighted toward infrastructure renewal projects. Another and related role of CMAQ funds is to enable more experimental projects to be funded (e.g., the on-demand shuttle bus service). Conformity appears to play a less direct role in programming CMAQ funds, largely because the Capital District area does not have a severe air quality problem. In addition, the New Visions goals, which many CMAQ projects support, are largely compatible with clean air goals. 2 The STEP Model calculates total operating speeds for each link in the network on the basis of estimated link delay and estimated node delay. The postprocessor then looks up an emission rate per VMT for that link on the basis of operating speed and functional class. The emission rates were developed by NYSDOT and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for the Capital District using the EPA MOBILE model. The total emissions for each link are then calculated by multiplying the emission rate per VMT by the STEP Model VMT on the link. Link emissions are then added for all links in the system (personal communication with Chris O’Neill, CDTC, Sept. 21, 2000).
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 CDTC has programmed three major types of CMAQ projects between federal fiscal years (FFY) 1995 and 1999, the most recent years of data available (Table D-1). Traffic flow improvements are the major spending category, specifically Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) projects such as the Traffic Management Center and supporting operations (e.g., highway loop detectors, police support for incident management). Shared-ride projects are the next-largest spending category, including park-and-ride lots and a regionwide guaranteed ride home program to support carpool, vanpool, and transit riders. Transit projects are the other major spending category, supporting new on-demand shuttle bus services on major corridors, a transit pass subsidy program, and a bus signal preemption system on a major corridor (Route 5). Bicycle paths, pedestrian improvements (e.g., side-walks), and support for employer rideshare programs are among the other types of projects funded by CMAQ in the last 5 years. If CMAQ funds had not been available during this period, many projects would not have gone forward, in the judgment of those interviewed. For example, ITS projects would not likely have been funded or would have been significantly delayed; the priority given to area infrastructure renewal would have dominated highway programming decisions had only traditional funding sources been available. More traditional transit projects might have been funded from other funding sources or delayed, but experimental projects like the on-demand TABLE D-1 CMAQ Program Obligations by Project Category, Capital District Area, Albany, New York, FFY 1995–1999 Project Category CMAQ Obligations ($) Percent of Total Obligations Traffic flow improvements 5,652,000 53.0 Shared ride 3,123,000 29.3 Transit 1,249,000 11.7 Pedestrian/bicycle 366,000 3.4 I&M and other 240,000 2.2 Demand management 40,000 0.4 Total 10,670,000 100.0 Source: NYSDOT (1996–2000).
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 shuttle bus service and new suburban ridership projects would probably not have gone forward in the absence of funding for equipment and operations. Stand-alone bicycle and pedestrian projects probably would not have been undertaken without CMAQ funds, but some could have been funded as part of larger projects using STP funds. When asked which types of projects were most effective in achieving CMAQ program goals of emission reductions and air quality improvement, traffic operations projects that reduced travel delays, transit projects that supported new ridership, and transportation demand management projects that included pricing incentives were mentioned. Bicycle and pedestrian projects were not as strong from an emission reduction perspective, but they served other goals, such as improved community livability. ITS projects that reduced delays on the system were rated highly from a congestion mitigation perspective, but transit projects were not. From a cost-effectiveness perspective, traffic improvements on congested corridors again ranked highly, but transit projects did not, mainly because of the expense of providing transit service (traditional transit service costs about $3 per passenger trip, shuttle service about $5 per trip, and paratransit service about $16 per trip). In making these judgments, all of the respondents noted the uncertainty of emission estimates, particularly for smaller projects, and the absence of postproject evaluations to determine whether emission forecasts had been realized.3 NYSDOT believes that the most cost-effective strategies for reducing emissions are those that affect large numbers of highway vehicles, such as vehicle technology improvements, inspection and maintenance programs, and changes in fuel composition. CMAQ Program Evaluation The main strengths of the CMAQ program are its flexibility and its innovative focus. The availability of flexible funds has enabled the Capital District to achieve its planning goals for a balanced transportation system with small shifts in spending priorities. The extra 3 CDTA does collect information on ridership for new transit services.
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 funding and the specific focus areas of CMAQ, which do not compete with infrastructure renewal and maintenance projects that tend to dominate older areas like the Capital District, have enabled the area to experiment and undertake innovative projects. One of the primary weaknesses of the CMAQ program is the uncertainty regarding the effects of projects, particularly small projects, on area emissions and air quality. This problem is magnified in an ozone nonattainment area, because the nature of the ozone problem and hence its solutions tend to be regional rather than local. More follow-up and evaluation of projects are needed. Given the methodological complexity and expense of such evaluations, however, the respondents recommended that FHWA take a more proactive role in determining project effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. On the basis of national experience, FHWA could even predetermine categories of projects from the perspective of their emission reduction potential and cost-effectiveness rather than require local justification for every project. All those interviewed thought that the CMAQ program should be continued, and funding increased if possible, when the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) is reauthorized. The scope of the program should be broadened to include whatever pollutants are regulated at the time. With regard to project eligibility, NYSDOT staff believed that all projects that can demonstrate emission reductions should be eligible for CMAQ funding. CDTA supported keeping current eligibility requirements and only expanding them if a clear air quality benefit is evident. In summary, the respondents’ major suggestion for change, in addition to more program funding, was increased guidance from FHWA, drawing on national experience concerning which projects are most effective and most cost-effective. One process-related change was mentioned—electronic reporting—to ease data collection by the state and summary reporting to FHWA. Organizations and Persons Interviewed—July 10, 2000 Capital District Transportation Commission John Poorman, Staff Director Chris O’Neill, Senior Transportation Planner
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 New York State Department of Transportation John Zamurs, Head, Air Quality Section, Environmental Analysis Bureau New York State Department of Transportation, Region 1 Office Jeffrey Marko, P.E., Associate Transportation Analyst Robert Hansen, P.E., Regional Capital Program Coordinator Robert Falcone, Senior Transportation Analyst Capital District Transportation Authority Kristina Younger, Manager for Planning CHICAGO SITE VISIT Introduction The Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS) is the designated MPO responsible for transportation planning in Northeastern Illinois. The counties served by CATS include Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, and parts of Kendall. According to the 1990 census, 7.3 million people reside in the region, 3.8 million of whom are employed, and 33 Fortune 500 companies have located their headquarters there. By 2020, the region’s population is expected to grow by nearly 25 percent to 9.0 million; 1.5 million additional people will be employed in the region; and the number of households is expected to increase by 31 percent to 3.4 million (CATS 2000a). Most of this growth is expected to occur in suburban areas, though the city of Chicago is slowly reversing a declining population trend. The transportation system in the region comprises 23,903 miles of streets and highways, including 4,264 miles of Interstates, freeways, and principal and minor arterials. The region houses the second-largest transit system in the country and the third-largest bus system. CATS estimates that 22 million trips are made every day in the region and that 1,100 freight trains and 36,000 rail cars move 2.5 million tons of freight through the area on a daily basis (CATS 2000a). Automobile person trips are expected to increase by about 46 percent between 1996 and 2020, while transit trips are expected to increase by nearly 15 percent. Total network VMT is projected to increase by more than 26 percent between 1999 and 2020. The Northeastern Illinois region is classified as a severe nonattainment area for ozone and receives approximately $70 million annually
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 in CMAQ funding under TEA-21. In FY 2001, CATS considered 170 project proposals for a projected total cost of nearly $200 million. CMAQ Program Process and Decision-Making Procedures The first step in the CMAQ programming process in Illinois is for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to allocate CMAQ funding to the designated MPOs in the state. The state allocates CMAQ funding to the MPOs in nonattainment areas by using the same apportionment formula that FHWA uses to apportion CMAQ funds to the states, that is, on the basis of population and severity of the air quality problem. Approximately 97 percent of the allocated funding is provided to CATS in the Northeastern Illinois region, with the remaining funds allocated to the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council in the East St. Louis area. There is one exception to the process. Under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and TEA-21, prior to the distribution of CMAQ funds to the MPOs, IDOT had reserved funds to finance an inspection and maintenance (I&M) program in the state’s nonattainment areas. Under ISTEA, IDOT programmed $45 million in CMAQ funds for development of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (IEPA) enhanced I&M program. Under TEA-21, it programmed an additional $80 million for operation of the enhanced I&M program.4 CATS has primary responsibility for programming CMAQ projects in the Northeastern Illinois area.5 IDOT administers the implementation of programmed projects. The staff of CATS begins the CMAQ process in January of each year by issuing a call for projects. Between 4 The majority of those interviewed did not object to this practice, though some did note that it contributes to the general encouragement of automobile usage by defraying the cost of the automotive inspection program to the state rather than to individual automobile owners. 5 IDOT is responsible for financing and administering the operating budget of CATS. The staff of CATS are technically state employees but are governed by the operating procedures of the CATS Policy Committee. None of the representatives interviewed expressed concern with this arrangement because the Policy Committee operates by consensus and IDOT constitutes only 1 of 20 votes. This arrangement is unique to the Northeastern Illinois region.
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Few ex-post evaluations of CMAQ projects are conducted, although the Southern California region must continually monitor and report on its progress in meeting air quality requirements. For example, SCAG must redetermine the conformity of the RTP and the RTIP at least every 3 years. Similarly, the air agencies must report on the rate of progress toward meeting attainment, also at least every 3 years. In addition, the counties must report to SCAG every 2 years on timely implementation of TCMs, including CMAQ-funded projects. Staff of VCTC suggested that there was little incentive for local agencies to monitor and evaluate CMAQ projects, particularly if it would take away from project funding. SANBAG staff suggested that ex-post evaluation is not necessary for straightforward projects, like vehicle engine replacements, for which the emission reduction benefits are clear. Nevertheless, CCA recommended a program set-aside for CMAQ project evaluation. CMAQ Program Objectives The majority of those interviewed believe that the primary goal of the CMAQ program is air quality improvement. In view of the air quality problems of the region, a high priority is given to funding CMAQ projects that have the potential for reducing emissions. That said, many view congestion mitigation as another important program goal and see no major conflict between the twin goals of the program. Transportation agency staff of SCAG, several of the county transportation commissions, and the city of Los Angeles believe that the region must accommodate growth and that congestion relief projects appropriately attempt to address the reality that most Los Angeles residents drive. If properly structured, such projects should help reduce emissions as well as congestion. Not surprisingly, this view is not held by the South Coast Air Quality Management District or CCA, who believe that more emphasis should be placed on projects with air quality benefits and that, with the possible exception of some HOV projects, congestion mitigation projects are not likely to have this outcome. A review of CMAQ obligations in the Southern California region for the last 5 years, FY 1996–2000, shows that more than 60 percent of the funds have gone for transit, including many projects to replace
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 buses and bus engines with nondiesel alternatives—a requirement of the air districts in Southern California (Table D-6). The next-largest spending category—nearly one-quarter of the total—is for traffic flow improvements, including HOV projects. The third-largest category is “all other,” a catchall category that represents nearly 10 percent of total spending. Shared-ride, bicycle and pedestrian, and demand management projects represent a small fraction (i.e., between 1 and 2 percent) of areawide spending. CMAQ obligations for the region are dominated by the priorities of Los Angeles County, which accounted for nearly 70 percent of area CMAQ obligations in the past 5 years. The priorities of the four other counties that receive CMAQ funds differ widely (Figure D-1). For example, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties have obligated large amounts of CMAQ funds for traffic flow improvements, including HOV projects. Orange County has focused heavily on transit in recent years,64 and Ventura County has obligated nearly three-fourths of its CMAQ funds for transit improvements (Figure D-1). According to many of those interviewed, if CMAQ funds were not available or were folded into existing transportation programs, the area would lose funding generally because the CMAQ apportionment formula targets areas with serious air quality problems, like Los Angeles. Moreover, spending priorities would likely change, with less emphasis on projects that improve air quality. The shift in priorities could be greater in suburban areas, where, without CMAQ, more highway projects would probably be undertaken. Many acknowledged that the area would have no choice but to find alternative funding sources for many projects to meet conformity requirements if the CMAQ program were ended. In their view, the projects for which this would be most difficult or for which delays would be likely include new transit services and operations, transit fleet conversions to alternative fuels and supporting infrastructure (e.g., refueling stations), and some HOV and bicycle projects. When asked which types of projects were most effective in achieving CMAQ program goals of emission reductions and air quality 64 Orange County focused heavily on HOV projects in the early program years, but the county’s HOV network is largely complete.
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 TABLE D-6 CMAQ Program Obligations, Greater Los Angeles Area, FFY 1996–2000 Project Category Total Cost ($) CMAQ Share ($) Percentage of CMAQ Total Five-County Total Traffic flow improvements 180,641,170 139,224,012 23.9 Shared ride 17,559,561 11,353,295 1.9 Transit 455,042,865 368,832,984 63.3 Bicycle/pedestrian 8,521,636 7,526,601 1.3 Demand management 2,304,799 2,076,729 0.4 Other 79,179,782 53,994,452 9.2 Total 743,249,813 583,008,073 100.0 Los Angeles County Traffic flow improvements 67,755,489 57,051,954 14.6 Shared ride 10,660,830 5,142,621 1.3 Transit 385,013,257 307,680,926 78.6 Bicycle/pedestrian 768,119 673,642 0.2 Demand management 345,896 342,512 0.1 Other 22,738,033 20,302,595 5.2 Subtotal 487,281,624 391,194,250 100.0 Riverside County Traffic flow improvements 50,795,887 41,288,526 54.0 Shared ride 1,630,976 1,443,902 1.9 Transit 21,305,778 18,861,438 24.7 Bicycle/pedestrian 3,800,000 3,364,000 4.4 Demand management 54,000 47,806 0.1 Other 21,901,958 11,431,713 14.9 Subtotal 99,488,599 76,437,385 100.0 San Bernardino County Traffic flow improvements 61,134,339 40,037,668 73.3 Shared ride 3,362,562 2,976,875 5.5 Transit 7,789,216 6,051,208 11.1 Bicycle/pedestrian 158,000 128,788 0.2 Demand management – – – Other 6,279,673 5,396,843 9.9 Subtotal 78,723,790 54,591,382 100.0 Orange County Traffic flow improvements – – – Shared ride 900,000 900,000 2.8 Transit 17,600,179 15,581,437 47.7 Bicycle/pedestrian – – – Demand management – – – Other 27,454,997 16,150,527 49.5 Subtotal 45,955,176 32,631,964 100.0
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Project Category Total Cost ($) CMAQ Share ($) Percentage of CMAQ Total Ventura County Traffic flow improvements 955,455 845,864 3.0 Shared ride 1,005,193 889,897 3.2 Transit 23,334,435 20,657,975 73.4 Bicycle/pedestrian 3,795,517 3,360,171 11.9 Demand management 1,904,903 1,686,411 6.0 Other 805,121 712,774 2.5 Subtotal 31,800,624 28,153,092 100.0 Source: Caltrans Office of Local Programs. improvement, nearly all of the respondents mentioned technology-oriented projects, particularly transit vehicle and engine replacements with clean fuel alternatives. Other transit projects as well as ridesharing and HOV projects, which are focused on reducing vehicle trips and the numbers of vehicles on the road, were also mentioned as the most effective from an emission reduction perspective. The best strategies for congestion relief include projects that fall under the category of traffic flow improvements—signal system synchronization, intersection improvements, and HOV projects. To the extent that transit services, including shuttles, move riders in high-capacity vehicles or remove vehicles from the highway entirely, these projects were also viewed as being effective for congestion relief. When asked which projects are most cost-effective, several respondents noted that cost-effectiveness is only one of several criteria that should be taken into account in determining CMAQ spending priorities. Only a few agencies, such as SANBAG, focus on cost-effectiveness as a primary CMAQ project selection criterion. When asked which projects are most cost-effective, SANBAG staff mentioned replacement of bus engines with clean fuel–burning engines.65 65 Replacing the bus is not always cost-effective. Moreover, operating an alternative-fueled transit fleet can be more expensive than buying and operating new cleaner diesel buses because of transitional infrastructure costs of moving to a nondiesel fleet.
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE D-1 CMAQ program obligations by project category, Greater Los Angeles area, FFY 1996–2000 (data from Caltrans Office of Local Programs). (continued) Some ridesharing projects are low in cost and have tangible benefits. Finally, paving of dirt roads—projects directed toward PM10 emission reductions—is also thought to be cost-effective, although FHWA and Caltrans view many of these projects as capacity enhancing and thus ineligible for CMAQ funding. The California Air Resources Board provides guidance on assessing project cost-effectiveness, but some agen-
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 CMAQ program obligations by project category, Greater Los Angeles area, FFY 1996–2000 (data from Caltrans Office of Local Programs). cies use this methodology after the fact to justify project selection rather than before the fact as a project selection tool.66 CMAQ Program Evaluation The key strength of the CMAQ program, according to those interviewed, is its role as a dedicated source of federal transportation 66 At least one reason for this, according to VCTC staff, is the lack of data to make the necessary assessments before the project is implemented.
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 funds for air quality improvement targeting the areas of greatest need (i.e., nonattainment and maintenance areas) to help meet mandated federal air quality requirements. Many of the restrictions on the program are considered to be its greatest benefits. For example, the CMAQ program requires agencies to consider transportation strategies that reduce emissions and provide alternatives to SOV highway travel, hence encouraging a more multimodal focus. It also requires spending on new facilities and operations, which can enable local agencies to experiment with new services. The extent of innovation, however, was questioned by RCTC staff and CCA, who noted that there were “not that many innovative CMAQ projects,” although they deemed spending on more traditional projects “worthwhile.” Some program restrictions were viewed as weaknesses. For example, MTA staff believe that restricting funds to new services and operations, particularly for transit projects, can bias the program in favor of suburban areas; in their view, CMAQ funds should be eligible for use in projects that support existing transit services and ridership in urban areas. In addition, more attention should be paid to providing a transition period lengthier than the current 3 years for local governments that use CMAQ funds to support operations so that alternative funding sources can be found to continue newly started-up services. Others (RCTC staff and CCA) thought that the program is not restrictive enough in terms of its focus on air quality; within this objective, however, some (OCTA staff, in particular) thought that any project that reduces emissions should be eligible for CMAQ funding. Others (primarily the South Coast Air Quality Management District) noted that there is insufficient accountability about where program funds are going and how program funds are being spent. Most of those interviewed did not see much change in interagency cooperation and decision making that could be attributed specifically to the CMAQ program, an unsurprising outcome in view of the lack of a regional approach to the program. With some notable exceptions (e.g., Ventura and San Bernardino Counties), the air agencies are viewed as having an arms-length role in the program; MTA staff suggested that the program could be better coordinated with the air agencies. Public interest groups in the Los Angeles area also have limited involvement, particularly early in the process of determining appro-
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 priate projects for CMAQ funding. The highly decentralized decision-making structure has also resulted in program funds being spread widely among a large number of local jurisdictions in many counties. With some notable exceptions (e.g., clean fuels projects, HOV projects), the current structure provides few incentives for focusing CMAQ funds on regional strategies for improving air quality. All of those interviewed thought that the CMAQ program should be continued when TEA-21 is reauthorized. Some (i.e., SCAG, city of Los Angeles, Caltrans) were hesitant about expanding the scope of the program unless funding was increased accordingly. Present levels of funding are insufficient, in their view, to meet the current air quality standards. Others (MTA, OCTA, SANBAG, RCTC) strongly urged that the program be extended to cover other pollutants (e.g., fine particulate matter, air toxics). If these other pollutants were included in the CMAQ apportionment formula, the area would likely receive even more funds. Some (RCTC, CCA) recommended broadening project eligibility to include strategies that address these new pollutants, such as projects focused on heavy vehicles and off-road vehicles. Others (SANBAG, in particular) thought there was sufficient flexibility within current eligibility requirements to address most of these problems now. Several suggestions were made for changing the program, although not all of those interviewed agreed with all the suggestions. First, more incentives should be provided for a regional program focus to encourage more coordinated strategies for pollution reduction in the region (Caltrans, CCA), but local differences within the region should also be recognized (RCTC). Second, state and local air agencies should have an ex officio or advisory role in programming CMAQ funds at the county level (RCTC). Greater public participation would also be desirable, particularly early in the project selection and evaluation process. Third, 3-year restrictions on the use of CMAQ funds for operations should be lengthened if it can be demonstrated that the project continues to provide new emission reductions. Fourth, more project evaluation would be desirable, including restricted funds for this purpose (city of Los Angeles), but these funds should not come at the expense of project funds (South Coast Air Quality Management District). Finally, looking ahead, the pollutants
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 covered under the CMAQ program should be expanded to include fine particulate matter and air toxics, particularly diesel, and added to the CMAQ apportionment formula as a basis for future funds allocation (SANBAG). Organizations and Persons Interviewed—March 5–7, 2001 Southern California Association of Governments Charles Keynejad, Senior Transportation Analyst Sylvia Patsaouras, Regional Planner Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Keith L. Killough, Deputy Executive Officer, Countywide Planning Frank Flores, Deputy Executive Officer, Capital Development and Programming David E. Yale, Director, Regional Programming and Policy Analysis Ronald L. Smith, Transportation Funding Manager, Capital Planning Douglas Kim, Program Manager, Regional Planning—Air Quality Programs Herman S. J. Cheng, Manager, Transportation Improvement Programming John Asuncion, Transportation Planner State of California, Department of Transportation, District 7—Office of Local Programs Satish Chander, P.E., Chief, Office of Local Programs and Alameda Corridor Norma Ortega, Chief, Office of Resource Management, Local Assistance Division (by telephone) City of Los Angeles Jaime De La Vega, Assistant Deputy Mayor, Office of the Mayor Orange County Transportation Authority James Ortner, Manager, Transit Technical Services Dean Delgado, Principal Transportation Analyst William J. Dineen, Manager, Financial Plans, Financial Planning and Analysis Ventura County Transportation Commission Ginger Gherardi, Executive Director (by telephone) Christopher Stephens, Deputy Director
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Peter De Haan, Director of Transportation Programming, Legislation, and Grants San Bernardino Associated Governments (by conference call) Norman King, Executive Director Ty Schuiling, Director of Planning and Programming Deborah Barmack, Director of Management Services Riverside County Transportation Commission (by conference call) Eric Haley, Executive Director Cathy Bechtel, Director of Planning and Programming South Coast Air Quality Management District Connie Day, Program Supervisor Eyvonne V. Sells, Regional Transportation Programs, Transportation Specialist Coalition for Clean Air Tim Carmichael, Executive Director REFERENCES Abbreviations CATS Chicago Area Transportation Study CDTC Capital District Transportation Committee COG Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments FHWA Federal Highway Administration H-GAC Houston-Galveston Area Council METRO Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County MTA Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority NYSDOT New York State Department of Transportation SCAG Southern California Association of Governments TPB National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board CATS. 2000a. 2000 Regional Profile. http://www.catsmpo.com/region/more. htm. Aug. 20. CATS. 2000b. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ). http://www.catsmpo.com/progs/cmaq.htm. Aug. 20. CDTC. 1999. Transportation Improvement Program 1999–2004. May. CDTC. 2000. New Visions 2030, Phase 1 Travel Task Force Report. Draft. July 5. COG. 1999. The Region, The Vision: Goals, Objectives, and Strategies for Our Transportation Future. Vol. 38, TPB. COG. 2000a. An Air Quality Determination of the 2000 Constrained Long Range Plan and the FY2001–2006 Transportation Improvement Program for the Washington Metropolitan Region.
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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 COG. 2000b. Growth Trends to 2025: Cooperative Forecasting in the Washington Region. Publication 20802. Summer. FHWA. 1995. Transportation Control Measure Analysis: Transportation Control Measures Analyzed for the Washington Region’s 15 Percent Rate of Progress Plan, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Metropolitan Planning Technical Report 5. U.S. Department of Transportation, Feb. Giuliano, G. 2001. Where is the “Region” in Regional Transportation Planning? In Regional Futures: Public Policy and The Making of 21st Century Los Angeles (J. Wolch, M. Pastor, and P. Dreier, eds.), University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, forthcoming. H-GAC. 2000a. 2022 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, Appendix B. Feb. 25. H-GAC. 2000b. Conformity Determinations for Vision 2022—The Metropolitan Transportation Plan and the 2000–2002 Transportation Improvement Program for the Houston-Galveston Transportation Management Area. Jan. 24. Keynejad, C. 2001. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program: Current Practice in SCAG Region. March. METRO. 2000a. 1999 Clean Air Month Transit Fare Subsidy Evaluation. METRO. 2000b. Downtown to Astrodome Light Rail Project, Final Environmental Assessment, Executive Summary. Oct. MTA. 2000. Call for Projects. 2001 Transportation Improvement Program, Application Package. NYSDOT. 1996–2000. Annual CMAQ Program Accomplishment Reports, Federal Fiscal Years 1995–1999. SCAG. 2000. 2001 Regional Transportation Plan Update. Dec. 14. Schrank, D., and T. Lomax. 2001. The 2001 Urban Mobility Report. Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University System, May.
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