Aug 13, 2013

CMAQ Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions

What Projects are eligible for CMAQ funding?

Many projects are eligible for CMAQ funding. The program description document contains more information on the program and the types of projects it funds. If your project type is not on the list, contact your council's Planning Liaison. 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.

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 (SR2S).

Can MFT and bond funds be used for local match?


Is my community eligible to receive CMAQ funding?

CMAQ funding is only available for use in non-attainment areas for the 8-hour ozone and annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emission standards. Contact your council's Planning Liaison if you are unsure if your communtiy is in the non-attainment area.

Active Program Management Questions

Can I change my project's scope and/or budget?

When your project moves forward towards implementation you may find that scope changes are necessary and/or that the budget has changed. Project change requests may be made according to the procedures detailed on the Program Management and Resources page.

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.

If a project is programmed in an out year, 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 can submit a request to change the project schedule. If sufficient funds are available due to other projects being delayed or due to the current unobligated balance of the CMAQ program, the project can be moved forward. First ready, first funded is the policy until the unobligated balance is spent down.

Can I change the year of my project?

You can move your project forward per the question above. However delays are not well tolerated. The CMAQ Programming and Management Policies provide for Active Program Management and are making it much more critical to move your project along on your original schedule. Each phase of a project is assigned a sunset year by which the phase must be accomplished.  Failure to accomplish a phase by September 30 of the sunset year will cause all remaining funds for the project to be removed and the project will be considered to be deferred.  See processing deferrals above for more information.


Application Questions

How are projects evaluated and ranked?

The primary consideration for CMAQ projects is the cost-effectiveness of their air emissions reductions, measured as either the cost per kilogram of volatile organic compounds (VOC) reduced or the cost per kilogram of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) reduced.  Projects will be ranked by their air quality cost-effectiveness within their project type category.

Additional criteria will be measured for projects as secondary to the air quality cost-effectiveness and will be taken into consideration when evaluating projects for potential funding.  These are referred to as Transportation Impact Criteria and are specific to a project type.  The Application Booklet on the Program Development page provides specific details on the evaluations for these criteria.

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.

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. Applications that are sumbitted that are missing any of the following will be immediately rejected and will not be considered for funding: 

  1. A complete Project Financing & Funding Request section on the first page of the main project application form.
  2. Detailed Estimate of Costs
  3. The Input Module Worksheets for traffic flow improvement projects only.
  4. Planning Liaison review certifying that applications from local agency sponsors have been reviewed for completeness.

For any other missing information, CMAP staff or the Planning Liaison will contact the sponsor and the sponsor will have 30 days from that contact to provide the missing information.

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.

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?

CMAP intends to maintain a two-year cycle for program development, but that 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.

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