By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

ARTBA and 60 other trade associations are urging Congress to address the potential “severe economic impact” of the latest U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ozone standard.

On Oct. 1, EPA lowered the ozone standard of 75 parts-per-billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.  Once implemented, the new standard could impair the transportation construction community if federal highway funds are withheld from a growing number of counties found out of compliance.

In a Nov. 6 letter to Congress, the industry coalition notes that ozone levels have decreased by 33 percent nationwide since 1980 under the existing standard.  Further, the entire country is expected to be in compliance within 10 years under the current regulations.

The new standard, the coalition warns, will “negatively impact our economy and stifle growth in many parts of the country” without offering any improvement over the current efforts being made on air quality.

Read the coalition letter.