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Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Program

The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement, or CMAQ, program is a federally-funded program for surface transportation improvements designed to improve air quality and mitigate congestion. CMAQ funds are apportioned annually to each State according to the severity of its air quality problems. The program is jointly administered by Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

CMAQ Program Update

The Oregon Department of Transportation has convened a program advisory committee to develop recommendations on program design and funding allocation.

CMAQ Program Advisory Committee

Project Eligibility Criteria

The CMAQ program provides a flexible funding source to State and local governments for transportation projects and programs to help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Funding is available to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality for areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, carbon monoxide levels or particulate matter ("nonattainment" areas) or have recently become compliant ("maintenance" areas). FHWA recently indicated that this general rule does not apply to alternative fuel infrastructure, such as electric vehicles and natural gas. Funds for alternative fuel infrastructure can be spent anywhere in the state.

Except as noted above for Alternative Fuel infrastructure, all CMAQ projects must demonstrate the three primary elements of eligibility:

  1. Transportation project;
  2. Emissions reduction and;
  3. Located in or benefitting a nonattainment or maintenance area.

Generally, projects eligible under the CMAQ program prior to enactment of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Centry, or MAP-21, remain eligible with the new authorization. While project eligibilities are continued, there is some modification with new language placing considerable emphasis on select project types including electric and natural gas vehicle infrastructure and diesel retrofits.

As in past authorizations of the program, projects must be included in a Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, transportation plan and transportation improvement program, or the current Statewide Trasnportation Improvement Program in areas that are not part of an MPO. The MPO plans and programs must also have a transportation conformity determination in place where applicable.

  1. Acquisition of diesel retrofits, including tailpipe emissions control devices, and the provision of diesel-related outreach activities.
  2. Intermodal equipment and facility projects that target diesel freight emissions through direct exhaust control from vehicles or indirect emissions reductions through improvements in freight network logistics.
  3. Alternative fuel projects including participation in vehicle acquisitions, engine conversions, and refueling facilities.
  4. Establishment or operation of a traffic monitoring, management, and control facility, including the installation of advanced truck stop electrification systems.
  5. Projects that improve traffic flow, including efforts to provide signal systemization, construct High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes, streamline intersections, add turning lanes, improve transportation systems management and operations that mitigate congestion and improve air quality, and implement Intelligent Transportation Systems and other CMAQ-eligible projects, including efforts to improve incident and emergency response or improve mobility, such as through real time traffic, transit and multimodal traveler information.
  6. Projects or programs that shift travel demand to nonpeak hours or other transportation modes, increase vehicle occupancy rates, or otherwise reduce demand through initiatives, such as teleworking, ridesharing, pricing, and others.
  7. Transit investments, including transit vehicle acquisitions and construction of new facilities or improvements to facilities that increase transit capacity. The MAP-21 provision on operating assistance (23 USC 149(m)) is being reviewed and guidance interpreting the provision.
  8. Non-recreational bicycle transportation and pedestrian improvements that provide a reduction in single-occupant vehicle travel.
  9. Vehicle inspection and maintenance programs.


Deanna Edgar
Investment Program Analyst

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