Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program

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.

Solicitation of Project Proposals

In NYMTC's planning area, the solicitation of CMAQ projects proposals is coordinated at the Transportation Coordinating Committee (TCC) level based on funding availability. Projects are selected by the agency members of the respective TCC based on the criteria noted above.

Eligible Activities

Specific eligible activities for CMAQ funding are listed below:

  • Establishment or operation of a traffic monitoring, management, and control facility, including advanced truck stop electrification systems, if it contributes to attainment of an air quality standard.
  • Projects that improve traffic flow, including projects to improve signalization, construct HOV lanes, improve intersections, add turning lanes, improve transportation systems management and operations that mitigate congestion and improve air quality, and implement Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and other CMAQ-eligible projects, including projects to improve incident and emergency response or improve mobility, such as real-time traffic, transit, and multimodal traveler information.
  • Purchase of integrated, interoperable emergency communications equipment.
  • Projects that shift traffic demand to nonpeak hours or other transportation modes, increase vehicle occupancy rates, or otherwise reduce demand.
  • Purchase of diesel retrofits or conduct of related outreach activities.
  • Facilities serving electric or natural gas-fueled vehicles (except where this conflicts with prohibition on rest area commercialization) are explicitly eligible.
  • Some expanded authority to use funds for transit operations.

Workforce development, training, and education activities are also an eligible use of CMAQ funds.

Performance Measures

Recent federal legislation established a requirement for a CMAQ performance plan covering MPOs that serve one million or more population and that represent a nonattainment or maintenance area. In addition, performance measures and target setting for emissions and traffic congestion reduction for the CMAQ program are being established through a rulemaking process. 

FHWA Fact Sheet

The Federal Highway Administration has developed a fact sheet for CMAQ under Mthe FAST Act.

click to go to FHWA site →