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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 Guidelines

CMAQ Application

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 Century, 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 Transportation 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.

Eligible Activity​​

Example Project​

1. Public Transportation Improvements​
Capital Projects:
  • Transit stop infrastructure to support increased use of buses and trains
  • Bus pullouts to improve roadway traffic flow and enhance transit rider safety
  • Fixed guideways or tracks for high-capacity transit improvement to reach more riders
​​Capital Purchases, including electric or alternative fuel transit vehicles with no or low emissions

Operational Improvements:
  • New or expanded service to reach transportation disadvantaged populations and others
  • ​Increased frequency of existing routes to increase service capacity and accommodate a broader array of potential riders​
​2. Transportation Options Strategies
Program Support for Transportation Management Associations working on geographic-specific congestion issues
Employer-Based Programs that support alternative work schedules, telecommuting, bus passes, and carpooling
Safe Routes to School Outreach and encouragement programs that help kids safely use the transportation system or foster interest in taking the bus, biking, or walking, which helps reduce school-related congestion. Preferred priority towards Title 1 schools. More information in Sections 7 and 9 of FHWA CMAQ Guidance.
Targeted Transportation Options (education and outreach), making people, employees, or students aware of new, enhanced, or existing transit service and biking and walking opportunities
Traveler Information to support awareness of travel choices and help people plan ahead to use public transit or other modes
Vanpool/Rideshare Operations and Capital Expenses so people can rideshare rather than drive alone to and from work or school
Congestion Pricing to send a monetary signal to roadway users on the cost of congestion and impacts in an effort to lesson worsening congestion
​3. Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure
Stand-Alone On-Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects that complete gaps or address biking or walking mobility issues near transit, schools, downtowns, employment centers, shopping and medical services to provide people with the ability to use these modes to reach critical destinations and services
Off-Road Paths within and connecting communities that provide a statewide benefit according to the Regional paths (2.5D) of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

4. Vehicle and Fuel Efficiency Efforts
​Diesel Engine Retrofits of school buses and government fleet vehicles to cost-effectively improve air-quality
Electric Charging Station Infrastructure to encourage no-emission vehicle use
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Recycled Natural Gas (RNG) Fueling Stations and Infrastructure to encourage low-emission vehicle use
Vehicle Purchases for government fleets, including: electric and alternative fuel vehicles with low or no emissions

5. Intelligent Transportation Systems for Congestion Reduction
​Signal Synchronization to improve traffic flow, with fewer stops and starts
Multi-modal Traveler Information to share information on crashes and detours and reduce intermittent delay that negatively impacts air quality
Electronic Toll Collection Systems to implement congestion pricing as discussed under item 2.
Incident clearance Equipment and Management Programs to help reduce intermittent delay

​6. Traffic flow Improvements for Congestion Reduction
Transit Signal Priority Systems
High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes
Turn Lane Additions/Improvements and intersection modifications when a threshold - such as Volume-to-Capacity​ (V/C) - is reached. Projects must mitigate existing congestion and be reviewed by ODOT Transportation Planning and Analysis Unit

7. Road Dust Mitigation to Remove fine Particles
(PM10 area only)
​​Gravel Street Paving
Street Sweeper Purchase



 Hope Derrickson
Federal & State Funding Program Manager
(503) 986-5375

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