applications currently not being accepted
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) is a federal program that funds projects and programs that improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. It is jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For FY 2022, 2023, and 2024, it is estimated that the SJTPO region will be allocated $1.9 million in CMAQ funding per year that will be programed into the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). These funds will be available for projects and programs throughout the SJTPO region via a competitive process. Candidate projects and programs may be submitted to SJTPO for eligibility review. Eligible applications are then ranked by the CMAQ Selection Committee, and projects selected for funding are to be implemented by the sponsoring agency.
Who can apply?
CMAQ funds are available for projects involving government, non-profit, and private entities that serve the SJTPO region. Additionally, public agencies must be certified eligible to receive federal funds through NJDOT. Private firms and non-profits may partner with a public agency sponsor through a process called Public-Private Partnership (PPP). CMAQ projects submitted by PPPs must benefit the general public by reducing emissions while not creating a competitive advantage of one private entity over another. More information on PPPs may be found in Section VII.C. of the federal CMAQ guidance. Private individuals are not eligible to apply.
What information is required on an application?
Proposals for CMAQ funding should include a precise description of the project, providing information on its size, scope, location, and timetable. The application should specify what supporting data or other materials will be submitted to SJTPO, with a submission schedule, in the event that the project is selected. This description should be as specific as possible, for example, by citing the location and timing of traffic counts, or submission dates for required products of the federal aid program. Applicants should also certify their familiarity with the NJDOT Local Aid process and describe previous experience in obtaining USDOT funding. Applications should also include a cost estimate detailing how much CMAQ funding is being requested for each phase of the project, and exactly how the CMAQ funding will be spent.
If any preliminary work has been done, such as conceptual design or planning, this information should be included with the application as well.
An assessment of the project’s expected emission reduction benefits should be completed prior to project selection to better inform the selection of CMAQ projects. Wherever possible, quantitative analyses of emissions impacts should be included in the proposal. The analysis should report, at minimum, the reduction in ozone precursors (NOx and VOC) in kilograms per day or per year, along with the expected lifespan of the emission reduction. Additional pollutants, including carbon monoxide or particulate matter may be reported as well. Qualitative assessments of emission benefits may be provided only when it is not possible to accurately quantify emission benefits; for example, for projects focused on public education, marketing, and other outreach efforts. Groups of complimentary projects may be analyzed together. Emission increases for any type of pollutant (including carbon monoxide or particulate matter) must be reported, if present. Details regarding emissions estimation may be found in Section VIII.A of the FHWA CMAQ Guidance.
SJTPO can assist applicants in calculating emissions reduction estimates for many types of projects. Please request emissions estimate assistance well in advance of the application deadline.
What types of projects are eligible for CMAQ Funds
In general, projects are eligible for CMAQ funding consideration if they are intended to reduce emissions in the region, either through direct means (such as converting to low-emission vehicles) or through indirect means (such as traffic signal improvements that improve vehicle flow and reduce congestion, or outreach programs to promote carpooling). The air quality benefits of projects should be well-supported by recent evidence of their effects on emissions; however, innovative projects without supporting precedent data may also be considered.
The following types of projects are listed as eligible in the CMAQ Interim Program Guidance. The list is not intended to be comprehensive, as other transportation projects that reduce emissions may be eligible. Many project types are eligible only under certain conditions. Please refer to the Interim Program Guidance for more details on any of the following project types.
For more detail on any of the above project types, and for a list of ineligible project types, refer to the CMAQ Interim Program Guidance.
For vehicle acquisitions, only the incremental cost of the difference in price between the alternative-fueled vehicle and a comparable conventional fuel vehicle will be covered. The estimated eligible portion of future vehicle purchases must be prorated based on the projected share of costs attributable to generating air quality benefits.
CMAQ-funded projects should have independent utility; that is, they must have standalone emissions benefits that do not depend upon other uncompleted projects.
FAST Act directs MPOs to give priority to cost-effective projects; that is, projects with the greatest emissions reduction per dollar funded. Secondary benefits may also be considered in the selection process, but the primary criteria will be the unit cost of the emissions reduction. Secondary selection factors include congestion relief, greenhouse gas reductions, safety, system preservation, access to opportunity, sustainable development and freight, reduced single-occupancy vehicle reliance, multimodal benefits, and others.
SJTPO CMAQ Project Selection Process
Following the application deadline, applications will be selected via a competitive process. The steps in the selection process are as follow:
- SJTPO staff reviews applications for clarity, completeness, and CMAQ eligibility.
- Applications are evaluated & ranked by the CMAQ Selection Committee established by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) based upon the following goals:
- Air Quality Benefit
- Preferred Project Type
Details on the application scoring criteria may be found on the CMAQ Proposal Evaluation here
- The CMAQ Selection Committee forwards its recommended project list to TAC, which then prepares a recommended program for the SJTPO Policy Board.
- The SJTPO Policy Board acts upon the TAC-endorsed CMAQ project list.
After final approval and notification of CMAQ award, the sponsor is responsible for implementing and completing the project. This includes any public involvement, planning, design, construction, etc. All project phases are eligible for CMAQ funds, and costs are 100% reimbursable. Projects not implemented in a timely manner run the risk of losing funds. In the case of an uncompleted project, the return of any federal funds expended might be required.