Guiding Legislation

Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act, last amended in 1990, requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (40 CFR part 50) for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. The Clean Air Act identifies two types of national ambient air quality standards:

  • Primary standards provide public health protection, including protecting the health of “sensitive” populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly.
  • Secondary standards provide public welfare protection, including protection against decreased visibility and damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings.

The EPA has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six principal pollutants, called “criteria” air pollutants, which include:

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  • Ozone (O3)
  • Particle Pollution (PM)
  • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
Units of measurement for the standards are:

  • parts per million (ppm) by volume,
  • parts per billion (ppb) by volume, and
  • micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3)

The NFRMPO is a maintenance area for Carbon Monoxide (CO) through 2019 for the City of Greeley and through 2023 for the City of Fort Collins.  The NFRMPO is part of a nonattainment area for Ozone (O3) for 75 ppb and did not attain the standard by July 2015.  All transportation improvements must meet conformity with the adopted State Implementation Plan (SIP) and the Motor Vehicle Emissions Budget (MVEB).  The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) has recommended a new SIP for 75 ppb, which is anticipated for EPA approval in May 2017.

On October 1, 2015, the EPA adopted a new standard for ground level Ozone (O3) of 70 ppb with an effective data of December 28, 2015. The new standard will require the development of a new SIP and MVEB.


On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law Public Law 114-94, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). The FAST Act funds surface transportation programs—including, but not limited to Federal-aid highways—at over $305B for fiscal years (FY) 2016 through 2020. It is the first long-term surface transportation authorization enacted in a decade that provides long-term funding certainty for surface transportation.

Setting the course for transportation investment in highways, the FAST Act—

  • Improves mobility on America’s highways

The FAST Act establishes and funds new programs to support critical transportation projects to ease congestion and facilitate the movement of freight on the Interstate System and other major roads. Examples include developing a new National Multimodal Freight Policy, apportioning funding through a new National Highway Freight Program, and authorizing a new discretionary grant program for Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (FASTLANE Grants).

  • Creates jobs and supports economic growth

The FAST Act authorizes $226.3B in Federal funding for FY 2016-2020 for road, bridge, bicycling, and walking improvements. In addition, the FAST Act includes a number of provisions designed to improve freight movement in support of national goals.

  • Accelerates project delivery and promotes innovation

Building on the reforms of MAP-21 and FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative, the FAST Act incorporates changes aimed at ensuring the timely delivery of transportation projects. These changes will improve innovation and efficiency in the development of projects, through the planning and environmental review process, to project delivery.