United States              Air and Radiation          EPA420-F-00-021
Environmental Protection                           May 2000

Office of Transportation and Air Quality
Transportation Conformity: Federal
Interagency Coordination
The following questions and answers describe the coordination
between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S.
Department of Transportation (DOT) on transportation conformity.
What is Transportation Conformity?
Transportation conformity is a Clean Air Act requirement that calls for
EPA, DOT, and various regional, state and local government agencies to
integrate the air quality and transportation planning development pro-
cess. Transportation conformity supports the development of transporta-
tion plans, programs, and projects that enable areas to meet and maintain
national air quality standards for ozone, particulate matter, and carbon
monoxide which impact human health and the environment.
Why is Federal Interagency Coordination Important?
Interagency consultation between EPA and DOT is important because
these two federal agencies are responsible for the environmental and
transportation programs that are affected by transportation conformity.
For example, EPA sets national air quality standards that metropolitan
and rural areas must meet. DOT is responsible for approving transporta-
tion plans, programs and projects that may affect the ability of an area to
"conform" to state and local air quality plans designed to meet EPAs air
quality standards.
                                          > Printed on Recycled Paper

      do       and DOT
To improve federal consultation in the transportation conformity pro-
cess, EPA and DOT signed a national Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) on April 19, 2000. This agreement will ensure that EPA and
DOT continue to coordinate and regularly consult on transportation and
air quality programs that are related to the transportation conformity

By improving consultation between the federal agencies, the MOU will
support improved and timely decisions which affect state and local
transportation and air quality agencies. The MOU specifically provides
guidance on federal interagency coordination; it does not  affect  state or
local agreements on coordination and consultation practices.

Under the MOU, EPA and DOT have agreed to the following basic
principles to ensure effective interagency consultation in the transporta-
tion conformity process:

   Consultation  procedures that provide for the agencies to give each
    other timely advice on the conformity implications of an air quality
    or transportation plan, program, or project.

   A process for elevating unresolved, conformity-related issues to
    senior levels of EPA/DOT management.

   A process for maintaining communications when it is apparent that
    pending  transportation programs, plans and projects will not con-
    form to an area's air quality goals.

   A process for allowing new air quality beneficial projects to pro-
    ceed when transportation activities do not conform to an area's air
    quality goals.
           I get        information?
You can access a copy of the MOU and other documents on transporta-
tion conformity electronically on the Office of Transportation and Air
Quality (OTAQ) Web site at:

    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/traq(click on "conformity")

You can also contact the OTAQ library for document information at:

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Office of Transportation and Air Quality Library
    2000 Traverwood Drive
    Ann Arbor, MI 48105