CMAQ Frequently Asked Questions
What is the process for processing deferrals?
When a project phase fails to meet accomplishment goals it is subject to deferral and having funding removed from the CMAP TIP. An overview of CMAQ Programming and Management Policies related to deferrals is available here.
What projects are eligible for CMAQ funding?
Many projects are eligible for CMAQ funding. Both eligible project types and ineligible project types are listed on pages 6-8 in the application booklet. If your project type is not on either list, contact your council's Planning Liaison. Also, the CMAQ page on the CMAP website contains a list of projects programmed to date in the region. For projects in gray areas, the Federal Highway Administration makes the final determination of project eligibility following MPO Policy Committee approval of a program of projects.
What would make my project not rank well?
Projects are ranked against projects of the same work type. CMAP looks at the amount of air quality benefit against the total cost of the improvement (not just the federal cost or the CMAQ funded portion). For most types of projects, it may have a low relative air quality benefit ranking due to the high cost of the project or low volume of use. For instance, a bicycle and pedestrian project would probably not have a lot of emission reduction potential if the proposed facility is located in an area with a low population density.
Will my project rank better if we only request construction funds?
When ranking a project, the total project cost, which includes all phases of the project, will be used. Projects where the sponsor has shown commitment to the project by funding phases independently will be noted for the Project Selection Committee's consideration.
Can one agency submit multiple applications?
Yes, definitely. However, be sure that sufficient financial and staff resources are available to follow through on all projects that are selected.
Can CMAQ funds be combined with other federal funds like STP on the same project?
Yes, but you still need to have the full amount of local match for all the federal funds. Federal funds such as CMAQ cannot be matched with another federal fund sources. Always check state programmed funds to make sure they are not federal sources such as Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) and Safe Routes to Schools.
Can MFT and bond funds be used for local match?
If I forget to include some information, can I submit it after the deadline?
Significant effort is being made to ensure that applicants submit all of their information on time. The review by your Council/Conference Planning Liaison will help you to identify any missing pieces. Also missing any of the following items is cause for immediate rejection of the application:
- Incomplete Project Financing & CMAQ Funding Request section
- For local sponsors' applications: the signoff signature identifying that the Planning Liaison has reviewed your application.
- For traffic flow improvement, commuter parking, and bicycle/pedestrian project applications: the project scoping report.
- For traffic flow improvement project applications: the Input Module Worksheets for before and after the improvement.
If our project is approved for one of the programmed out years, but is ready to go to letting ahead of that time, will it be able to advance ahead of schedule?
Projects that are ready to go ahead of the year they were programmed in should request the CMAQ Project Selection Committee to move them forward. Other projects are constantly being delayed for various reasons and with the current unobligated balance of the CMAQ program, there will almost certainly be sufficient funds to move project forward. First ready, first funded until the unobligated balance is spent down.
If my community works together with several neighboring jurisdictions to implement a joint corridor project, who is the lead agency?
It is up to those jurisdictions to develop some type of intergovernmental agreement or memorandum of understanding to assure the respective commitment to the project, to assign a lead agency and clarify the funding shares and payment mechanism for the local match. Then for the engineering phases, IDOT will work with the identified lead agency on the agreements, project processing, and local match. You can decide whether it is best to bid the project in municipal segments or jointly for the whole corridor.
Can I change my project's scope and/or budget after approval?
After selection, when your project moves forward towards implementation you may find that scope changes are necessary and/or the budget has changed. There are opportunities to make scope and budget adjustments through CMAP's CMAQ Project Selection Committee (PSC), however only scope changes that are true to the original intent of the project will be considered.
Can I change the year of my project?
You can move your project forward per the answer to question 12. However delays are not well tolerated. The CMAQ Programming Polities (revised January 13, 2011) provide for Active Program Management and are making it much more critical to move your project along on your original schedule. The first phase of work must be obligated within the federal fiscal year it is approved for and other phases may have only one schedule adjustment. If the new schedule is not met, the project will be considered for removal from the CMAQ program. Allowances will be made for delays that are substantially out of the sponsor's control.
Regarding the new requirement for CMAQ projects to support implementation of GO TO 2040, what if the work type we are proposing does not relate to the action areas?
There is guidance on action areas provided on page 5 of the project information booklet. For instance, for bicycle improvements that could include the action area: "Many elements of livability can be supported through planning for land use and housing, including: support for transportation options including walking, bicycling, and transit." Also, you may look deeper in the GO TO 2040 document and see what other strategies are being recommended.
You may need to review a copy of the full length GO TO 2040 which was mailed to each municipality and is available on the CMAP website: GO TO 2040 full length plan.
When will I hear how my project ranks?
It is anticipated that the project rankings will be published on the CMAQ website by June 30th with the agenda for the July 7 CMAQ Project Selection Committee (PSC) meeting. Sponsors may address the Committee at that meeting if they feel that the ranking does not adequately reflect the project's value. An initial cut of what projects the Committee is planning to recommend for funding is to be published around July 14th with the agenda for the July 21 PSC meeting. The entire schedule is available on page 15 of the Project Information Booklet.
What if a municipality is interested in a CMAQ project, but is not in a position to apply during this call for projects; what is then next opportunity to apply?
It is likely that there will be another round in early 2012 for funding in FFY2017, but it is dependent on Congress for both new authorizing legislation and healthy budget appropriations. This timing is not as discouraging as it sounds because of the "first ready, first funded" practices, i.e. once the project is in the CMAQ program it is likely that it can be moved up when it is ready.
What is the CMAQ B List?
Last year a backup list, called the CMAQ B List, which is comprised of good quality CMAQ eligible projects was established as a way to infill the CMAQ program if project accomplishment was to lag. Projects on the B List can move into the CMAQ program for implementation if the local governments chose to advance the early stages of the project at their own expense. With every new program a new B List will be established. The current CMAQ B list will be deleted when a new B list is created (with the proposed program). Any sponsor that has a project on the CMAQ B list currently should re-apply, if funding is still desired.
Is my community eligible to receive CMAQ funding?
CMAQ funding is only available for use in non-attainment areas. A map of the non-attainment area is available on page 10 of the Conformity Analysis document. However, if you are outside the border of the non-attainment area and your project discourages single occupant vehicle travel into the non-attainment area, the project may be eligible.
Can agreements be processed and plans reviewed by IDOT for a project that is in out years or on the CMAQ B List?
IDOT has agreed to put any CMAQ projects that are moving forward into the IDOT system for tracking, then the sponsor, through the Planning Liaison should contact the IDOT Local Roads field engineer to be sure that he/she understands the intent. The project will not get a state "project number" until the fund source is known – but IDOT can process it for federal eligibility.