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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Transportation Conformity Determinations for Federally Funded and Approved Transportation Plans, Programs and Projects

Action

Notice.

Summary

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2011. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Comments must be submitted on or before April 11, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0269, by one of the following methods:

  • http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov.
  • Fax: (202) 566-9744.
  • Mail: Air Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery: Air Docket, Environmental Protection Agency: EPA West Building, EPA Docket Center (Room 3334), 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0269. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0269. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Astrid Larsen, State Measures and Conformity Group, Transportation and Regional Programs Division, Environmental Protection Agency, 2000 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; telephone number: (734) 214-4812; fax number: (734) 214-4052; e-mail address: larsen.astrid@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

How can I access the docket and/or submit comments? Back to Top

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0269, which is available for online viewing at http://www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Air Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is 202-566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air Docket is 202-566-1742.

Use http://www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the draft collection of information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the docket ID number identified in this document.

What information is EPA particularly interested in? Back to Top

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA specifically solicits comments and information to enable it to:

(i) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(ii) Evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(iii) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(iv) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. In particular, EPA is requesting comments from very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of specific additional efforts that EPA could make to reduce the paperwork burden for very small businesses affected by this collection.

What should I consider when I prepare my comments for EPA? Back to Top

You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your comments:

1. Explain your views as clearly as possible and provide specific examples.

2. Describe any assumptions that you used.

3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.

4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide.

5. Offer alternative ways to improve the collection activity.

6. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline identified under DATES.

7. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal Register citation.

What information collection activity or ICR does this apply to? Back to Top

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are metropolitan planning organizations, local transit agencies, state departments of transportation, and State and local air quality agencies. Federal agencies potentially affected by this action include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and EPA.

Title: Transportation Conformity Determinations for Federally Funded and Approved Transportation Plans, Programs and Projects

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 2130.04, OMB Control No. 2060-051.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on May 31, 2011. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9, are displayed either by publication in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, such as on the related collection instrument or form, if applicable. The display of OMB control numbers in certain EPA regulations is consolidated in 40 CFR part 9.

Abstract: Transportation conformity is required under Clean Air Act section 176(c) (42 U.S.C. 7506(c)) to ensure that federally supported transportation activities are consistent with (“conform to”) the purpose of the state air quality implementation plan (SIP). Transportation activities include transportation plans, transportation improvement programs (TIPs), and federally funded or approved highway or transit projects. Conformity to the purpose of the SIP means that transportation activities will not cause or contribute to new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the relevant national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS or “standards”) or interim milestones.

Transportation conformity applies under EPA's conformity regulations at 40 CFR Part 93, subpart A, to areas that are designated nonattainment, and those redesignated to attainment after 1990 (“maintenance areas” with plans developed under Clean Air Act section 175A) for the following transportation related criteria pollutants: Ozone, particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The EPA published the original transportation conformity rule on November 24, 1993 (58 FR 62188), and subsequently published several revisions. EPA develops the conformity regulations in coordination with FHWA and FTA.

Transportation conformity determinations are required before Federal approval or funding is given to certain types of transportation planning documents as well as non-exempt highway and transit projects. [1]

EPA considered the following in renewing the existing ICR:

  • Burden estimates for transportation conformity determinations in current nonattainment and maintenance areas for the ozone, PM 2.5, PM 10, CO, and NO 2 NAAQS, which made up EPA's previous ICR (ICR # 2130.03);
  • Federal burden associated with EPA's adequacy review process for submitted SIP budgets that are to be used in conformity determinations;
  • New start-up burden associated with learning to perform quantitative hot-spot analyses;
  • New burden associated with using the MOVES model for conformity analyses;
  • Efficiencies in areas doing conformity for multiple NAAQS; and,
  • Differences in conformity resource needs in large and small metropolitan areas and isolated rural areas.

This ICR does not include burden associated with the general development of transportation planning and air quality planning documents for meeting other Federal requirements.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 7 hours per response. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements which have subsequently changed; train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

The ICR provides a detailed explanation of the Agency's estimate, which is only briefly summarized here:

Estimated total number of potential respondents: This ICR estimates that approximately 174 Metropolitan Planning Organizations will incur burden associated with transportation conformity requirements.

Frequency of response: The information collections described in this ICR must be completed before a transportation plan, TIP, or project conformity determination is made. Per SAFETEA-LU and DOT's planning regulations, transportation plans and TIPs must be updated at least every 4 years. Conformity determinations on projects in metropolitan and isolated rural areas are required on an as-needed basis.

Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent: 392.

Estimated total annual burden hours: 68,282 hours.

Estimated total annual costs:$4,014,663. This includes an estimated burden cost of $4,014,663 and an estimated cost of $0 for capital investment or maintenance and operational costs.

Are there changes in the estimates from the last approval? Back to Top

There is an increase of 19,043 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. This increase reflects EPA's adjustments associated with the actual number of 2006 PM 2.5 NAAQS nonattainment areas versus the estimated number in the previous ICR, adjustment for increased burden associated with quantitative hot-spot analyses and an adjustment for increased burden associated with the transition from the MOBILE6.2 to MOVES model.

What is the next step in the process for this ICR? Back to Top

EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. If you have any questions about this ICR or the approval process, please contact the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Dated: February 7, 2011.

Sarah Dunham,

Director, Transportation and Regional Programs Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

[FR Doc. 2011-3002 Filed 2-9-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

Footnotes Back to Top

1. Some projects are exempt from all or certain conformity requirements see 40 CFR 93.126, 93.127, and 93.128.

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