The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program

This federal assistance program was first authorized by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 with $6 billion in funding provided over a five year period. The program has continued to this day with the recent MAP-21 package authorizing funding of over $2 billion per year for 2013 and 2014. CMAQ funds are apportioned to states based on a funding formula.

Eligible Activities

Funds may be used for transportation projects likely to contribute to the attainment or maintenance of a national ambient air quality standard, with a high level of effectiveness in reducing air pollution, and be included in the Metropolitan Planning Organization's (MPO's) current transportation plan and transportation improvement program (TIP) or the current state transportation improvement program (STIP) in areas without an MPO.

CMAQ is designed to fund eligible projects across surface transportation modes. Some specific eligible activities are described below:

2012 Federal Nonattainment Areas for Different Types of Pollutants

  • Establishment or operation of a traffic monitoring, management, and control facility, including advanced truck stop electrification systems, if it contributes to attainment of an air quality standard.
  • Projects that improve traffic flow, including projects to improve signalization, construct HOV lanes, improve intersections, add turning lanes, improve transportation systems management and operations that mitigate congestion and improve air quality, and implement ITS and other CMAQ-eligible projects, including projects to improve incident and emergency response or improve mobility, such as real-time traffic, transit, and multimodal traveler information.
  • Purchase of integrated, interoperable emergency communications equipment.
  • Projects that shift traffic demand to nonpeak hours or other transportation modes, increase vehicle occupancy rates, or otherwise reduce demand.
  • Purchase of diesel retrofits or conduct of related outreach activities.
  • Facilities serving electric or natural gas-fueled vehicles (except where this conflicts with prohibition on rest area commercialization) are explicitly eligible.
  • Some expanded authority to use funds for transit operations.

CMAQ funds may be invested in all ozone, CO, and PM nonattainment and maintenance areas. Funds also may be used for projects in proximity to nonattainment and maintenance areas if the benefits will be realized primarily within the nonattainment or maintenance area.

The Application Process

The CMAQ application and selection process may occur at either the state or MPO level. FHWA and FTA coordinate with the local agencies to review applications and approve eligibility.

Seneca has a particular expertise in railway motive power systems that can be applied to developing eligible diesel retrofit projects for locomotives. Our experience with numerous federal loan and grant applications will help us bring together all the pieces to develop an eligible project and bring it to a successful application. For more information on how we can specifically support your CMAQ project from concept through application, please contact us.