The Environmental Protection Agency plans to publish a final rule soon that will streamline its “conformity” rule, as directed by the 2005 SAFETEA-LU statute. The new regulation, signed Jan. 9, will give states and localities that fail to conform with federal clean air requirements more time to comply before facing penalties. Under current practice, the federal government can withhold funds for transportation projects when states or localities fall out of conformity.

Nick Goldstein, American Road & Transportation Builders Association assistant general counsel and director of regulatory affairs, says that the regulation “benefits the entire transportation sector because you don’t have projects being held up because an area goes out of conformity.”