In June of 2016, the Boston Region MPO released several transportation planning documents for public review. Below is a synopsis of each document, their public review periods, and their endorsements.
The MPO staff hosted “Office Hours” at the State Transportation Building the afternoon and evening of July 18 and 21 to discuss these draft documents, answer questions, and hear comments from members of the public.
Amendment Five to the FFYs 2016-20 Transportation Improvement Program
The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a five-year plan for financing the construction and implementation of highway and transit projects and programs in the region. Approved TIPs are amended, as needed, throughout the year to reflect changes to project costs and schedules and to make other adjustments to project programming.
Amendment Five would update project costs and add new projects and programs that would be implemented between federal fiscal years (FFYs) 2016 and 2020. The public review period for Amendment Five remained open until July 25. The MPO voted to approve the amendment on July 28.
FFYs 2017-21 Transportation Improvement Program
The new TIP programs funding for projects to be implemented in the years FFY 2017 through 2021. They include multiyear projects that continue from the FFY 2016-20 TIP and new projects selected to receive funding over the next five years.
The new projects will receive MPO discretionary funding according to how well they meet the MPO’s project evaluation criteria, their readiness for construction in TIP timeframe, and whether their costs are containable within the fiscal limits of this TIP.
New proposed projects are as follows:
•Reconstruction of Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston
•Canal Street Rail Trail, Phase 2, in Salem
•Reconstruction of Union Avenue in Framingham
•Reconstruction of Union Street (Route 139) in Holbrook
•Intersection Improvements at Three Locations in Beverly
•Intersection Improvements at Route 1 and University Avenue/Everett Street in Norwood
•Community Transportation and Parking Program, a regionwide investment program supporting local services that provide first-mile/last-mile connections to transit stations and new station parking facilities
The public comment period for the TIP remained open until July 25. The MPO voted to approve the TIP on July 28.
Long-Range Transportation Plan Amendment One
The MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Charting Progress to 2040, documents regionally significant projects and investment programs planned out over a 25-year timeline. For planning purposes, regionally significant projects are considered to be those that either will add capacity to the transportation system or that cost more than $20 million. Projects programmed in the LRTP are ultimately programmed through the TIP when they are within five years of implementation.
The primary reason for Amendment One is to make the LRTP consistent with the FFYs 2016–20 TIP and its amendments, the proposed FFYs 2017–21 TIP, and the Massachusetts Capital Investment Program (CIP). The CIP documents projects prioritized by the state.
Amendment One would accomplish the following:
•Transfer funds to Phase 1 of the Green Line Extension (Lechmere Station in Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford) from Phase 2 (College Avenue to Route 16 in Medford), in keeping with Amendment Four of the FFYs 2016-20 TIP and the proposed FFYs 2017-21 TIP
•Update the cost for the ramp construction on Interstate 95 northbound and improvements to Canton Street and Dedham Street in Canton, Norwood, and Westwood
•Program reconstruction of Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston, to align with the proposed FFYs 2017–21 TIP
•Document funding for two regionally significant projects in the CIP: the reconstruction of the Interstate 90 and Interstate 495 interchange in Hopkinton and Westborough and a new bridge connection from Burgin Parkway over the MBTA railroad in Quincy
The public comment period for Amendment One remained open until August 10. The MPO voted to approve Amendment 1 on August 18.
FFY 2017 Unified Planning Work Program
The MPO produces a Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) each year. The UPWP documents the transportation-planning studies and other MPO planning and administrative activities that will be conducted in the coming federal fiscal year, as well as their costs and funding sources.
The following new studies and technical analyses are proposed for FFY 2017:
•Safety Effectiveness of Safe Routes to Schools Programs
•Study of Promising Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies
•Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways
•Low-Cost Improvements to Express-Highway Bottleneck Locations
•Addressing Priority Corridors from the LRTP Needs Assessment
•Planning for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
•Using General Transit Feed Specification to Find Shared Segments with Excessively Irregular Headways
•MPO Staff-Generated Research Topics
The public comment period for the UPWP remained open until July 18. The MPO voted to approve the document at their meeting on July 28.