By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) July 13 announced a proposal to retain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. The agency noted that the current standards are sufficient: national average ozone concentrations have decreased 25 percent since 1990.

ARTBA has repeatedly urged EPA to revise the NAAQS process, noting that the standards are frequently tightened before they can be attained and given a chance to work by counties. That’s like “moving the goalposts in the middle of the game.”

ARTBA has also pointed out that the transportation improvements endangered when a county is found to be out of compliance are often essential to reducing congestion and improving air quality. Counties that fail to meet the NAAQS can lose federal highway funding.

ARTBA will support EPA’s proposal once it is published in the Federal Register. There will be a 45 day comment period.