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PA FLEXIBILITY RULES FOR STATE TRANS. PROJECTS

Release Date: 06/28/96
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PA FLEXIBILITY RULES FOR STATE TRANS. PROJECTS

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1996

EPA PROPOSES FLEXIBILITY RULES FOR STATE TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS



EPA is proposing amendments to the transportation conformity rule that would give states greater flexibility in planning clean air programs to reduce mobile source air pollution. The conformity rule ensures that federally funded or approved transportation plans, programs and projects do not cause or contribute to new violations of air quality standards, worsen existing violations or delay attainment of the air quality standards. In addition to shortening and clarifying the existing regulatory test, the proposed amendments create a pilot program that would offer state and local transportation and air quality agencies additional flexibility to seek out and test the conformity procedures that would work best in their areas. State and local governments would have increased authority to set performance measures used to determine conformity. Procedural requirements would also be tailored to meet the needs of different areas, such as rural localities. The main objective of the pilot program is to examine whether more efficient programs could be implemented that may also reduce costs without jeopardizing Clean Air Act goals and requirements. The program would be administered by the Department of Transportation and EPA for three years. The two agencies would select up to six areas currently subject to the conformity rule to participate. Each pilot area would hold a 30-day comment period before the proposal could be approved. Information on the proposals would also be posted in the EPA public docket. The Agency said there is a possibility the program could be expanded in the future.