Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement Program

The federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement Program funds transportation projects that reduce emissions from transportation-related sources. It is a key funding mechanism from the Federal Highway Administration to help urban areas meet air quality goals and support investments that encourage alternatives to driving alone. 

Transportation accounts for about a third of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., and transportation emissions are among the fastest rising among all emitting sectors. The main goal of the CMAQ program is to fund projects that reduce regulated emissions associated with carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate matter pollution, often through congestion mitigation techniques. 

Distribution of funds 

The national distribution of CMAQ funds is based on a formula that considers the population and severity of air quality status for each area. As the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Kansas City area, the Mid-America Regional Council is responsible for choosing which projects will receive CMAQ funds. MARC uses a competitive application process to produce a list of prioritized projects.

Since most harmful emissions are generated in the urbanized parts of the region, five counties are in the designated Air Quality Attainment area — Platte, Clay and Jackson counties in Missouri and Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas. 

Eligible funding uses 

Funds may be used for a transportation project or program that is likely to contribute to the attainment or maintenance of a national ambient air quality standard with a high level of effectiveness in reducing air pollution. The project or program must be included in MARC’s current transportation plan and transportation improvement program.