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

ARTBA is warning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider tightening federal regulations that are already successfully reducing air pollution, at the risk of halting important transportation construction work.

The agency’s review of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) standards could increase the number of counties out of compliance with the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). Counties not meeting CAA standards can have their federal highway funds withheld.

In Dec. 8 comments to the agency, ARTBA argued there is no need to tighten existing standards, which have helped reduce NO2 levels by 57 percent since 1980, according to EPA’s own data.

With air quality already improving, ARTBA suggested “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.”

The EPA is required by law to review air quality standards every five years, but it is doesn’t have to change them.