Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality

Background

Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) is a federal program, whose primary goals are to improve air quality and reduce congestion. CMAQ provides funding for transportation projects or programs that will contribute to attainment or maintenance of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter (both PM10 and PM2.5).

With the Merced County Region designated as nonattainment for ozone and PM2.5, and attainment for PM10, the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) receives about $3 million a year of apportioned CMAQ funding. The Governing Board approves the programming of these CMAQ funds to eligible projects sponsored by the local agencies.

Per the federal CMAQ program guidance, project/program eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • It must be transportation related.
  • It must generate an emissions reduction. Per the California Air Resources Board cost-effectiveness calculations, CMAQ projects must show (and report) emission reduction benefit. 
  • It must be located in or benefit a nonattainment or maintenance area. 
Federal CMAQ Program Guidance 

Program of Projects



For the past number of years, CMAQ has been programmed for a variety of purposes including transit projects and programs (i.e. expanded service pilot; public outreach and education), rideshare marketing, diesel equipment replacements, street sweeper replacements, bike/pedestrian projects, traffic flow improvements (i.e. traffic signals synchronization; roundabouts; turn lane pockets). 

CMAQ Program of Projects

Cost-Effectiveness Programming in 2017



Call for Projects - Fall 2016



In October 2011, the MCAG Governing Board adopted the Goals and Procedures for Programming CMAQ Funds in order to provide guidance. Prior to releasing the next CMAQ "Call for Projects", the program changes and lessons learned have been addressed and included in the updated policies and procedures. This update was adopted by the Board in August 2016, and it represents a clear and transparent program guidance. 
 
MCAG CMAQ Policies and Procedures - August 2016

With the available CMAQ capacities introduced in the latter years of the 2017 FTIP, MCAG releases the “Call for Projects.” Following are the materials for application submittal: 

The deadline for application submittal is November 18, 2016. The following tentative schedule addresses the next steps:
 
November-December 2016     Staff assess submitted applications for CMAQ eligibility
December 2016                       CMAQ committee to evaluate applications
January 2017                           Governing Board takes action on recommended projects and FTIP amendment