The purpose of the CMAQ program is to fund transportation projects or programs that will contribute to attainment or maintenance of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (both PM10 and PM2.5). CMAQ funding is allocated to fund eligible projects in areas that do not attain National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for various pollutants specified in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The Clean Air Act specifies these “non-attainment areas” nationally. CMAQ funding is also allocated to former non-attainment areas that have achieved the NAAQS in order to maintain that status. These are “maintenance areas” under the Clean Air Act.
Each CMAQ project must meet three basic criteria: it must be a transportation project, it must generate an emissions reduction from motor vehicles, and it must be located in or benefit a nonattainment or maintenance area. In addition, all CMAQ projects must be included in NYMTC’s current Regional Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Program.
CMAQ-funded projects or programs must reduce CO, ozone precursors (NOx and VOCs), PM2.5, PM10, or PM precursor (e.g., NOx) emissions from transportation; these reductions must contribute to the area's overall clean air strategy and can be demonstrated by the emissions reduction analysis that is required under this guidance. NYMTC also may consider the ancillary benefits of eligible projects, including greenhouse gas reductions, congestion relief, mobility, safety, or other elements, when programming CMAQ funds, though such benefits do not alone establish eligibility.
Proposals for CMAQ funding should include a precise description of the project, providing information on its size, scope, location, and timetable. Also, an assessment of the project's expected emission reduction benefits should be completed prior to project selection to better inform the selection of CMAQ projects
A proposed project’s or program’s potential reduction of motor vehicle emissions provides the basis for the competitive selection of projects and/or programs for CMAQ funding. Selected projects must be consistent with NYMTC's Regional Transportation Plan.