"Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act - A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)" requires that the metropolitan planning process be closely coordinated with the mandates of the Clean Air Act in the development of transportation plans and programs. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is responsible for conducting air quality conformity analysis for regional transportation plans and programs The HRTPO assists VDOT in the development of transportation control strategies that will help Hampton Roads attain the air quality standards. The HRTPO also assists in evaluating how regional transportation plans and programs will impact air quality. The HRTPO performs technical analyses of air quality emissions for all projects requesting federal CMAQ funds. Projects only qualify if they will reduce emissions and demonstrate air quality improvements.
In July of 1997, the EPA promulgated a new eight-hour national Ambient Air Quality Standard that set the maximum ozone concentration at 0.08 parts per million. On June 15, 2004, based on the new standard, EPA designated Hampton Roads as a marginal non-attainment area for ozone.
On June 1, 2007, the EPA re-designated Hampton Roads as an attainment area ozone. Technically, the region is considered a maintenance area - a designation given to an area that was originally designated a non-attainment area for a pollutant that later met the federal standard for the pollutant, and for which the EPA has approved an air quality maintenance plan that shows how the area will remain in attainment through 2018.
For more information on air conformity analysis, please review, "Consultation Procedures for the Hampton Roads Ozone Nonattainment Area: In Support of the Transportation Conformity Regulations."