Scientific research demonstrates the effects of pollution on our health and on the ecological systems which sustain human life. President Clinton has taken advantage of ISTEA's landmark environmental provisions to reduce air and water pollution, to preserve wetlands and open space, and to make transportation facilities more compatible with the environment.ISTEA SUCCESSES
The largest ISTEA environmental initiative is the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), which authorized $1 billion annually under ISTEA to help communities meet national standards for healthy air. CMAQ has funded such innovative projects as cleaner natural gas buses in Cleveland and Boise, a child care center to promote ridership at a San Jose transit facility, and an inspection and maintenance program in Indiana, which ensures that auto emissions systems continue to cut pollution.KEY NEXTEA PROVISIONS
ISTEA supported important travel alternatives, such as bikeways and pedestrian paths, and preserved scenic and historic roadside vistas, supporting tourism and strengthening local economies.
NEXTEA would increase CMAQ funding by 30 percent, to $1.3 billion annually, and expand funding eligibility to include scrappage of higher-polluting pre-1980 vehicles. It also would act on new research on the dangers of particulate matter by allowing areas that do not meet health standards for this pollutant to receive CMAQ funds. NEXTEA also would ensure that no state loses CMAQ funds as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed changes in air quality standards.
NEXTEA would increase Transportation Enhancements funding by more than 25 percent, supporting projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of our transportation system.
The National Scenic Byways program, which designates roads of aesthetic or historic value and funds improvements to them, would be continued, and the list of eligible activities would be expanded to include scenic byway marketing programs. Funding for recreational trails, bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways, landscaping, and wildflower plantings also would be continued, as would ISTEA's commitment to inclusive transportation planning which reflects such community values as environmental preservation.