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

ARTBA has warned again that tightening ozone standards despite their current effectiveness could result in the withholding of federal highway funds to areas forced out of compliance.

The association is supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) July decision to leave in place current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. 

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to review ozone standards every five years. In Oct. 1 comments to the agency, ARTBA pointed to EPA’s own data stating ozone emissions have fallen “significantly” since 1990 as evidence that the current standard is working. 

ARTBA noted that transportation improvements can reduce congestion and improve air quality.

EPA’s next step is to consider the comments it receives and issue a final rule, but there is no timeline for that to happen.