Legislation was introduced in the U.S. House recently to allow transportation construction projects that have received environmental clearance to continue even if a metropolitan area falls out of compliance with national air quality standards.
Under current regulations, such projects must be stopped if national standards are not met by the city where construction takes place.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, introduced “The Safe Roads and Highways Act,” which allows construction to continue while the city creates an acceptable air quality plan.
According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the legislation is a sensible approach that links transportation and clean air planning. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate, and AGC hopes the bill is included in TEA-21 reauthorization this fall.
“Stopping transportation improvement projects that have already received approval to be built undermines safety and congestion relief and can have a negative impact on air quality,” said Stephen Sandherr, AGC chief executive. “Congress should reconsider whether the costs associated with the transportation conformity process result in equal benefits to the environment.”