major population centers, was funded at $28.6 billion during the same period.

The CMAQ program is also modest when viewed from a regional perspective. For example, the Los Angeles region has some of the nation’s poorest air quality and thus qualifies for and receives the maximum apportionment of CMAQ funds.1 However, these grants represent on the order of 4 to 5 percent of annual federal funds and only 2 to 3 percent of total annual revenues coming to the Los Angeles region. Moreover, in many regions, CMAQ funds are widely disbursed over a diverse program of eligible activities.

The CMAQ program may be modest relative to other federal-aid transportation programs and to any given region’s transportation budget, but the funds are targeted to where the problems are—to those nonattainment and maintenance areas in states with the most severe ozone and carbon monoxide (CO) air quality problems.2 For example, between 1992 and 1999, the most recent year for which national data are available, six states—California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois—received more than half of all CMAQ apportionments (see Table 3-1). California alone received about 65 percent more than the next-largest state apportionment—to New York—reflecting the severity of its air quality problems. Fourteen states accounted for about three-quarters of CMAQ obligations for the 8-year period (see Table 3-1).3

Program funds are apportioned by statute to the states each year on the basis of the severity of air quality problems and the size of


 The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) suballocates CMAQ funds to nonattainment and maintenance areas in the state using the same formula by which national-level CMAQ funds are allocated to California.


According to congressional staff, at the inception of the program, CMAQ funding formulas also offered a way to distribute funds to those large states that otherwise would not have fared as well under the new ISTEA funding formulas (presentation to the committee by Chris Bertram, Professional Staff Member, Subcommittee on Ground Transportation, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, October 12, 1999).


The release of funding caps on CMAQ funds to large states such as New York and California under TEA-21 resulted in directing even more funds to the largest states with populations living in nonattainment and maintenance areas.

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