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

Roadside air pollution has fallen dramatically since 1980, reducing the need for further regulations, ARTBA noted in June 30 comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding proposed changes in the placement of air quality monitors.

ARTBA has long urged the agency to carefully consider where air monitors are placed. Results can get skewed by improper locations and put county governments out of compliance with the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). This is important for transportation construction, since federal highway funds can be withheld from counties that don’t meet CAA standards. 

EPA proposes eliminating roadside monitors from sparsely populated areas since equipment near cities (with more vehicles on the roads) is detecting nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels “well below” CAA standards. ARTBA pointed out these results are in line with EPA’s nationwide data, which indicates NO2 levels have fallen by 57 percent since 1980.

ARTBA suggested to EPA that “[i]f the air quality is improving, further regulation may not be necessary and, perhaps, thought should be given to altering existing requirements in a manner which would reduce regulatory burdens without sacrificing the success which has already been achieved.”

Read ARTBA’s full comments.