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EPA Eases State Highway Project Burdens While Protecting Air Quality


State and local governments would gain more flexibility to meet transportation conformity requirements, without reducing the programís important health and air quality benefits, under a new EPA proposal. Proposed changes include providing state and local governments:

-- more time to meet conformity requirements,
-- more flexibility before the consequences of not meeting conformity requirements apply, and
-- the option of shortening the timeframe of conformity determinations.

Also, this proposed rule would streamline conformity requirements for transportation projects in carbon monoxide nonattainment and maintenance areas.

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, which President Bush signed last August, mandated many of the changes. Transportation conformity is a Clean Air Act requirement that ensures that federally supported highway and transit project activities are consistent with (conform to) the purpose of a state air quality implementation plan.


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