Air Pollution:

EPA Needs More Data From FHwA on Changes to Highway Projects

RCED-90-72: Published: Mar 20, 1990. Publicly Released: May 4, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO addressed the states' implementation of a Clean Air Act requirement that federally funded highway projects conform to plans designed to reduce air pollution.

GAO found that: (1) the Clean Air Act did not specify how state conformity should be determined; (2) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) disagreed on whether air quality analyses were needed to determine conformity for individual projects; (3) FHwA declined to perform additional air quality analyses that EPA needed to determine the extent of state compliance; (4) local planning agencies did not inform EPA of changes in project plans that could have affected air quality; (5) FHwA officials believed that project traffic forecasts did not show travel induced by new construction to be a significant causal factor for increased ozone pollution; and (6) the Department of Transportation and EPA needed better information on implementing transportation control measures.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress resolved the issue by requiring the relevant procedures as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should work with the Administrator, FHwA, to develop procedures for reporting on the status of major highway projects.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress has addressed this issue in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 by requiring that information on transportation plans and controls be developed and used in air quality decisionmaking.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should take actions to ensure the timely receipt of information on progress in implementing transportation control measures.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

 

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