“rot” may be the new state of transit if the House of Representatives passes two transportation bills that affect the entire nation. Photo by Eric Rogers.
This is a quick update on two federal government topics I’ve been following: the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was proposing to make the Chicago region an “attainment zone”, meaning we’d meet our pollution reduction goals (for just particulate matter) and that we would lose our eligibility for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds (CMAQ) – see the original post. But those funds may not be so protected, if the House Republicans have their say and are able to pass H.R.3864, the new surface transportation bill – see the original post. Continue reading Federal government update: Clean air legislation and surface transportation bill
The Millennium Park Bike Station is one of thousands of projects funded in part by Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grants.
From the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning newsletter:
As we told you last week [here’s our article], our region faces harm to its air quality and a significant loss of federal transportation funding if the U.S. EPA follows through on its intention to ignore current, certified 2011 data and rule that northeastern Illinois is “in attainment” with the agency’s 2008 guidelines for air quality. Among the many Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) projects that would lose funding is Pace’s $38.4 million express bus service along the Jane Addams Tollway as part of its upcoming reconstruction, which is identified as a high priority of GO TO 2040. We urge you to contact U.S. EPA and members of Congress, calling on the federal regulators to consider the up-to-date 2011 data, which clearly indicate our region has actually not attained the 2008 air standards. The U.S. EPA comment period has begun with publication of a December 20 notice in the Federal Register (marked as “40 CFR Part 81”), which includes details of how to make your views known. We have also created a sample letter for commenters.
Continue reading Air quality attainment update from CMAP
Transit and road improvement projects that increase efficiency and reduce emissions are at risk. Photo of Red Line and Dan Ryan traffic, looking north to the Chicago Loop.
Chicago is currently a non-attainment area.
That means we don’t meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) “for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment” (read more), standards which are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Six pollutants are measured across the country (note 1). We currently don’t attain standards for particle pollution, specifically Particulate Matter 2.5; they’re particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers and “referred to as ‘fine’ particles and are believed to pose the greatest health risks”. Additionally, we’re a maintenance area for the 8-hour ozone standard. It is this designation that puts a large portion of the region’s transportation funding risk. Continue reading What is attainment? How Chicagoland may lose $90 million in federal funding annually