MPO Meeting Minutes
Memorandum for the Record
Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting
March 26, 2020 Meeting
10:00 AM–2:00 PM, Zoom Conference Call
David Mohler, Chair, representing Stephanie Pollack, Secretary, and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agreed to the following:
See attendance on pages 20–21.
There was none.
T. Teich stated that the board would have to make difficult decisions regarding programming the FFYs 2021–25 TIP due to readiness and cost changes for currently programmed projects. These changes are documented in Amendment Three to the FFYs 2020–24 TIP and Amendment One to the Destination 2040 LRTP. These amendments are required to provide consistency between the MPO’s LRTP, the FFYs 2020–24 TIP, and the FFYs 2021–25 TIP. T. Teich acknowledged the concerns of project proponents regarding delays. T. Teich stated that MPO staff typically follow MassDOT’s guidance regarding project readiness.
T. Teich stated that the MPO board would next meet on April 16, 2020. The UPWP Committee would meet during the MPO’s usual time on April 2, 2020, at 10:00 AM. T. Teich added that attendees should send any information they have regarding local, regional, or agency transportation studies planned for October 1, 2020–September 30, 2021, to Sandy Johnston, UPWP Manager, for documentation in Appendix A of the FFY 2021 UPWP.
T. Teich summarized written comments submitted to MPO staff prior to the meeting.
D. Mohler reported that Mayor Kim Driscoll of the City of Salem was unable to attend the meeting but wished to advocate for programming project #609437 (Boston Street Improvements in Salem) in FFY 2025. Mayor Driscoll stated that Boston Street connects the cities of Salem and Peabody, provides access to Salem’s new senior center, and is in need of Complete Streets improvements.
Kien Ho (BETA Group, Inc.) and Todd Korchin (Director of Public Works, Town of Westwood) provided an update on the design status of project #608947 (Traffic Signal Improvements on Route 109 in Westwood). K. Ho reported that the project team recently resolved MassDOT’s comments on the 25 percent design submittal. K. Ho stated that while the project is not currently recommended for programming in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP, the goal is to complete the design so that it is ready for programming in a future TIP. K. Ho added that the Route 109 corridor is a major regional connector for communities such as Dover, Walpole, Medfield, Millis, Medway, carrying more than 20,000 cars per day. K. Ho stated that the corridor experiences many operational problems. K. Ho added that the corridor is a major truck route, with Tresca Concrete Company in Millis using Route 109 as their main connector to Route 128. K. Ho stated that the Town of Westwood has tried many solutions, such as adjusting signal timing, upgrading traffic equipment, new lane markings and signage, but continues to hear concern from surrounding neighborhoods about cut-through traffic due to congestion on Route 109.
T. Korchin stated that the Town of Westwood has invested approximately $500,000 in an attempt to mitigate the issues that congestion on Route 109 has caused for neighbors in abutting neighborhoods. T. Korchin stated that this is a relatively affordable and flexible project that could take advantage of funding should it become available. T. Korchin expressed concern that leaving the project unprogrammed could result in a situation where the current design is outdated by the time funding is secured. T. Korchin advocated for a more aggressive approach to programming this project given its validity and flexibility.
Tom Lamar (Chair, Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee) advocated for programming some or all of the funding in the MPO’s Major Infrastructure program in the FFYs 2021-25 TIP to project #607981 (McGrath Boulevard in Somerville.) This project is included in the MPO’s current LRTP, Destination 2040, but is not yet programmed in the TIP. T. Lamar stated that many of Somerville’s current transportation and land use policies and projects depend on or complement the planned McGrath Boulevard project. T. Lamar noted that several recent streetscape projects have created much safer intersections near McGrath, but depend on improvements to McGrath to be fully usable. T. Lamar stated that the McGrath Boulevard project should be completed as soon as possible to complement the new protected bike and bus lanes on Broadway and planned improvements to Highland and Somerville Avenues. T. Lamar stated that Somerville is committed to expanding multimodal transportation and asked that the MPO fund project #607981 so that design and engineering work can progress as quickly as possible.
Valerie Gingrich (Director of Planning and Conservation, Town of Wilmington) acknowledged that the funding constraints facing the MPO dictate that projects may not be able to move into an earlier year of the TIP despite being ready to do so, but reiterated the interconnectedness of three currently programmed TIP projects: #604996 (Bridge Replacement, New Boston Street over Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority [MBTA] in Woburn), #608051 (Reconstruction of Route 38 [Main Street], from Route 62 to the Woburn City Line in Wilmington), and #609253 (Intersection Improvements at Lowell Street [Route 129] and Woburn Street in Wilmington). V. Gingrich noted that these projects will impact each other, stating that the opening of the New Boston Street Bridge will result in additional traffic through the Lowell Street and Woburn Street intersection, which is programmed to be upgraded after the construction of the bridge. The Route 38 project and the Lowell Street and Woburn Street intersection projects serve as detours for each other. V. Gingrich asked that the MPO carefully consider the sequencing of these three projects. V. Gingrich stated that Wilmington will continue to advance the design for the Lowell and Woburn Streets intersection, with the goal of being at 100 percent design by spring 2021.
Phil Lemnios (Town Manager, Town of Hull) provided an update on project #601607 (Reconstruction of Atlantic Ave and Related Work in Hull). This project is currently programmed in FFY 2022. P. Lemnios stated that this project is at the 100 percent design stage and Hull is working with MassDOT to resolve any issues associated with the design. P. Lemnios noted that Atlantic Avenue is one of only three access ways in and out of Hull. P. Lemnios reported that the Town of Hull recently completed a $7 million seawall rehabilitation project to help protect the roadway, and is now completing an additional $2 million in underground sewer work along the corridor so all of the underground utilities are prepared in advance of improvements to the roadway. P. Lemnios added that the Town of Hull has its own light department, so any work associated with electric and communications transfers can be done quickly. P. Lemnios thanked the MPO for programming the project and requested that it remain programmed in FFY 2022.
Beth Suedmeyer (Environmental Planner, Town of Sudbury) advocated for project #608164 (Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Phase 2D in Sudbury) remaining programmed in FFY 2022. B. Suedmeyer reported that Sudbury has received comments from MassDOT regarding the 25 percent design submittal and is working to respond to those comments. B. Suedmeyer stated that the Town of Sudbury will work with MassDOT staff to advance towards a design public hearing.
Len Simon (Formerly Board of Selectmen, Town of Sudbury) advocated for project #608164 to remain programmed in FFY 2022. L. Simon thanked the MPO, MPO staff, and MassDOT staff for their work on this project and reported that town officials are working closely with the design consultant and MassDOT personnel to respond to MassDOT’s comments on the 25 percent design submittal so that the design public hearing can be held.
Jennifer Roberts (Board of Selectmen, Town of Sudbury) advocated for project #608164 to remain programmed in FFY 2022. J. Roberts stressed the importance of this project to Sudbury for environmental, safety, health, and mobility reasons and the town’s commitment to supporting the project. J. Roberts noted that this is a regional project important to all the communities the trail currently passes through or is planned to traverse, including Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham. J. Roberts stated that the Sudbury Town Meeting has repeatedly allocated money for the project’s design and is committed to keeping it on schedule.
Brendan Callahan (Assistant Director of Planning, City of Peabody) advocated for the inclusion of two projects in Peabody in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP. Project #608933 (Rehabilitation of Central Street in Peabody) is currently programmed in FFY 2024. Project #610544 (Multiuse Path Construction of Independence Greenway at Interstate 95 and Route 1 in Peabody) is recommended for programming in FFY 2025. B. Callahan reported that project #608933 is on schedule. Project #610544 would construct a bridge over Route 1 in order to connect three existing trailheads. B. Callahan noted that the City of Peabody has the ability to secure future design funding for both projects, including the support of the Community Preservation Act Committee, to keep both projects on schedule and to meet the TIP timeline.
David Daltorio (Town Engineer, Town of Hopkinton) thanked MassDOT and the MPO for their support of project #606043 (Signal and Intersection Improvements on Route 135 in Hopkinton) and advocated for its continued inclusion in FFY 2020, despite a cost increase of approximately $3.5 million. D. Daltorio noted that the Town of Hopkinton has committed approximately $9 million of the town’s funding and is dedicated to completing the project. D. Daltorio thanked MassDOT and MPO staff for their support and recommendation that the project remain programmed in FFY 2020.
Ben Cares (Planner, City of Chelsea) thanked MassDOT for agreeing to fund project #609532 (Targeted Safety Improvements and Related Work on Broadway, from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue in Chelsea) with statewide funds. This project was originally under consideration for funding by the MPO. B. Cares thanked MPO staff for their work to evaluate this project for programming and expressed that the City of Chelsea may return to collaborate with the MPO in the future.
Brad Rawson (Director of Mobility, City of Somerville) thanked MassDOT for agreeing to fund project #609532 with statewide funds, and advocated for other TIP projects in the Inner Core Committee subregion, including those in Newton and Milton. B. Rawson stated that Somerville applauds the approach taken by staff and the board regarding Major Infrastructure projects, stressing the regional nature of project #607981. B. Rawson stressed that in light of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, Somerville’s commitment to equitable, high-density, transit-oriented Smart Growth in and around the McGrath Boulevard corridor is well timed. B. Rawson stated that Somerville recently adopted a new zoning ordinance that opened five million plus square feet of space to development in the McGrath corridor. B. Rawson added that Somerville’s Smart Growth agenda includes stringent caps on new parking around Smart Growth sites to address the issue of induced demand. B. Rawson stated that while some developers are initially resistant, this saves them money upfront, and the regional mobility system depends on communities like Somerville to artificially constrain the parking supply to encourage more sustainable modes of travel like transit, walking, and biking.
There were none.
L Diggins reported that the Advisory Council would meet next on April 8, 2020, via Zoom. L. Diggins stated that the Advisory Council’s 3C Documents Committee met on March 25, 2020, and thanked MPO staff members Matt Archer and Matt Genova for helping members to understand the ongoing TIP process.
A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 27, 2020, was made by the At-Large Town (Town of Arlington) (Daniel Amstutz) and seconded by the At-Large City (City of Everett) (Jay Monty). The Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton) (Austin Cyganiewicz) and the North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly (Aaron Clausen) abstained. The motion carried.
M. Genova summarized an additional public comment received following the posting of written comments to the MPO meeting calendar. Nicole Freedman (Director of Transportation Planning, City of Newton) wrote to advocate for the programming of project #610674 (Reconstruction of Commonwealth Avenue [Route 30], from East of Auburn Street to Ash Street in Newton) in FFY 2025. N. Freedman noted that this project is tied to a complementary project in Weston, and there is MassDOT work underway between the Newton and Weston segments of the corridor. N. Freedman stated that it is essential that these projects are coordinated to ensure that the bicycle and pedestrian elements are continuous throughout the entire corridor.
M. Genova reviewed the timeline for FFYs 2021–25 TIP development and presented the draft final programming scenario for the FFYs 2021–25 TIP. The goals for this discussion were to come to a final resolution on cost overrun and project readiness issues impacting projects currently programmed between FFYs 2020 and 2024. Any adjustments made to projects in FFY 2020 would create a cascading effect through the rest of the years of the TIP and become Amendment Three to the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. These decisions would also require an Amendment One to the LRTP, as multiple projects now exceed the MPO’s $20 million cost threshold for Major Infrastructure projects due to cost increases. Once the MPO decides how to resolve issues in FFYs 2020–24, it can decide on new projects to program in FFY 2025.
In FFY 2020, the final draft programming scenario accommodates cost increases for the projects #602261 (Reconstruction on Route 1A [Main Street] in Walpole), #604123 (Reconstruction on Route 126 [Pond Street] in Ashland), and #606043. This scenario moves project #607652 (Reconstruction of Ferry Street in Everett) into FFY 2021. This project is not on track to meet its advertisement date in FFY 2020. To balance out these changes, roughly $3.6 million in FFY 2021 funding for project #1570 (Green Line Extension to College Avenue with the Union Square Spur in Somerville and Medford) is brought forward into FFY 2020. This allows the scenario to use all of the funding available to the MPO in FFY 2020 and program every project ready to advertise for construction.
In 2021, the scenario accommodates cost increases for projects #604996 and #606130 (Intersection Improvements at Route 1A and Upland Road/Washington Street and Prospect Street/ Fulton Street in Norwood). This scenario retains project #608228 (Reconstruction of Union Avenue in Framingham) due to recent progress, including the submission of 75 percent design plans in February 2020. This scenario moves projects #606453 (Improvements on Boylston Street in Boston) and #602077 (Reconstruction on Route 129 [Lynnfield Street] in Lynn) into FFY 2022 due to readiness concerns. In order to accommodate these adjustments, approximately $6.3 million in FFY 2021 funding for project #606476 (Sumner Tunnel Reconstruction) is moved into FFY 2022. This scenario also repurposes $1 million in Community Connections funds remaining after covering the cost of the selected projects in FFY 2021. In addition to accommodating extra funding for the City of Somerville’s transit signal priority project in Davis Square, this scenario retains $178,000 in the event of other cost adjustments for Community Connections projects. This scenario allows the MPO to fund all projects feasibly ready in FFY 2021.
In FFY 2022, funding is more constrained. The scenario accommodates cost increases for projects #608078 (Reconstruction of Broadway, from City Hall to the Revere City Line in Chelsea), #608164, #601607, and #608887 (Rehabilitation and Related Work on Route 126, from Douglas Drive to Route 140 in Bellingham). To accommodate the $13 million cost increase for project #607777 (Rehabilitation of Mount Auburn Street [Route 16] in Watertown), approximately $18 million in funding for this project is moved into FFY 2023. This project now meets the $25 million federal threshold for splitting a project cost over multiple funding years. In this scenario, projects #607738 (Minuteman Bikeway Extension in Bedford) and #608889 (Traffic Signal Installation at Edgell Road and Central Street in Framingham) are moved into FFY 2023 due to project readiness concerns and financial constraints in FFY 2022. The main tradeoff in this year is that funding for project #606226 (Reconstruction of Rutherford Avenue in Boston) is decreased by approximately $13.3 million to cover cost increases for other projects.
In 2023, projects #603739 (Construction of Interstate 495/Route 1A Ramps in Wrentham) and #608051 experienced cost increases and were moved into FFY 2023 due to financial constraints. This scenario covers the cost increases for projects #607244 (Revere Street Roadway Improvements in Winthrop) and #607899 (Pedestrian Improvements along Bussey Street in Dedham). Project #605743 (Resurfacing and Related Work on Central and South Main Streets in Ipswich) is moved into FFY 2024, due to readiness concerns and financial constraints. The main tradeoff in this year is that in order to maintain existing funding levels for #606226, projects on schedule in terms of project readiness (Wrentham and Wilmington) are moved into a later year. In order to move any other projects back into 2023, funding for #606226 would have to be decreased.
In 2024, projects #605168 (Intersection Improvements at Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary in Hingham) and #608045 (Rehabilitation on Route 16, from Route 109 to Beaver Street in Milford) are moved into FFY 2025 due to fiscal constraint. This scenario covers a slight cost increase for project #609211 (Independence Greenway Extension in Peabody) and removes project #608006 (Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Installation at Route 9 and Maynard Road in Framingham) entirely. MassDOT determined that this project was nonviable as designed. The tradeoffs in this year are that projects on schedule in Hingham and Milton are moved into a later year to preserve funding for #606226. This scenario also moves approximately $28 million of funding for #606226 into a later year. This scenario does not move any projects currently flagged as eligible to be programmed earlier due to funding limitations, although the MPO could still choose to do so.
For the new funding available in FFY 2025, this scenario fully funds the Community Connections and Transit Modernization programs and allocates $44 million to project #606226. This puts the MPO on track to complete the funding for this project in FFY 2026. In addition, this scenario programs the highest-scoring Complete Streets, Bicycle and Pedestrian, and Intersection projects. These projects are #610662 (Roadway and Intersection Improvements at Woburn Common, Route 38 [Main Street], Winn Street, Pleasant Street, and Montvale Avenue in Woburn), #610544, and #608067 (Intersection Reconstruction at Route 3 [Cambridge Road] and Bedford Road and South Bedford Street in Burlington and Woburn). This scenario also includes a line item to allocate $12 million towards a new Major Infrastructure project. This is based on the discussion from the MPO meeting on March 19, 2020, where significant interest was shown in exploring funding options for new LRTP projects. There are three LRTP projects to choose from, and the MPO could allocate funds to one of these projects or to another project in FFY 2025. The eligible LRTP projects are #609246 (Reconstruction of Western Avenue [Route 107] in Lynn), #607981, and #605313 (Bridge Replacement, Route 27 [North Main Street] over Route 9 [Worcester Street] and Interchange Improvements in Natick). If the MPO chooses not to fund any of the LRTP projects this cycle, only four years of TIP funding remains to fund all three projects and meet the goals set in the LRTP. The major tradeoff in this scenario is that due to cost increases, existing commitment to project #606226 and the LRTP targets, the MPO is very limited in how many new projects it can program in FFY 2025.
John Bechard (MassDOT Highway Division) provided an additional update on project #607652. In the scenario as presented, this project is proposed to be shifted from FFY 2020 to 2021. MassDOT received a 75 percent design submittal for this project two weeks ago. In reviewing the documents, the cost of this project has increased from $16,119,557 to approximately $26 to $29 million, which differs from the scenario presented by M. Genova. These costs have not been verified, and it is possible that the new estimate includes costs that are not eligible for federal aid. D. Mohler clarified that this means the cost estimate for this project may be incorrect by approximately $10 million.
D. Amstutz noted that the cost for project #607652 has fluctuated significantly between scenarios presented to the MPO and in this latest update. D. Amstutz also highlighted that project #606043 was previously presented at $8 million, and is now estimated at $11 million, and asked where these cost changes originated from. D. Amstutz also asked whether the $44 million in FFY 2025 represented all of the remaining committed funding for #606226 or if additional costs would need to be covered in FFY 2026.
D. Mohler replied that there is an additional year of funding for #606226 needed beyond what this scenario proposes to program in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP. M. Genova clarified that the MPO will have approximately $30 to $35 million remaining committed to #606226 in FFY 2026.
J. Bechard stated, regarding project #606043, that MassDOT staff recently met with the Town of Hopkinton and their design consultant. J. Bechard stated that the new estimate represents a complete accounting of all the project costs that are eligible for federal aid, should they be available in the TIP.
J. Monty stated that the original estimate for project #607652 did not assume the full depth pavement reconstruction that later became necessary. The latest cost increase is due to the discovery of a collapsed city drain line underneath the roadway.
L. Diggins asked to what extent the MPO can agree to keep a project programmed but decline to fund cost increases. D. Mohler replied that theoretically, the MPO could decline to fund some of the project cost; MassDOT would need to ascertain whether the town could cover those costs or reduce the project scope. This is generally not feasible in the year when a project is expected to be advertised. D. Mohler added that while this is theoretically possible, the practice should be to either fund or not fund a project. L. Diggins clarified that his question relates to whether the additional costs are those that were previously not identified as eligible for federal aid. If those costs were originally going to be covered by the town as ineligible for federal funding, presumably the MPO could decline to program them without ending the project.
J. Bechard clarified that the situation is not that the town is asking for new funding, but rather that MassDOT has confirmed that the funding the town has requested is actually eligible for federal aid.
A. Cyganiewicz stated, regarding project #607738, that Bedford town officials contend easement acquisitions will not take as long as MassDOT estimates, and the project can remain on schedule for FFY 2022. More broadly, A. Cyganiewicz asked how the MPO generally deals with disagreements between municipalities and MassDOT regarding readiness.
J. Bechard stated that MassDOT assesses readiness based on available information on whether a project can be completed within the proposed timeframe, or if permitting or right-of-way acquisition reasons will make it difficult. MassDOT makes a recommendation based on assessment of those risks. J. Bechard stated that MassDOT feels that an FFY 2021 timeframe for Bedford would be difficult to achieve and has recommended FFY 2022. J. Bechard stated that MassDOT can commit to programming the project in the first quarter of FFY 2022, meaning that construction would still commence in the spring of FFY 2022. There would be no appreciable change in the construction phase if the project can be completed in that timeframe.
D. Mohler clarified that each year MassDOT project development staff meet with the staff of each MPO to discuss TIP project readiness. D. Mohler stated that it is MassDOT’s strong recommendation that the MPO's not program projects in years where MassDOT does not believe projects will be ready. D. Mohler added that if the MPO decides it wants to believe the town’s estimates rather than MassDOT, they may do so, but MPO staff, under the direction of the chair, always draws amendments and scenarios as if the readiness concerns of MassDOT are accepted.
Bill Conroy (City of Boston) (Boston Transportation Department) stated that Boston recently received construction time duration estimates for #606226. In FFY 2022, the proposed cost in the scenario is $10,369,725, and the need is $9,476,115. Boston does not foresee that the project would start construction until May or June of that year, which is why there has been a decrease of $1 million. In FFY 2023, the proposed cost in the scenario is $34,324,554, and the need is $43,064,652. For FFY 2024, the proposed cost in the scenario is $25,418,157, and the need is $30,992,716. In FFY 2025, the current estimate is $44,047,396, and the need is $22,092,440. That means the need in FFY 2026 is an additional $9,518,821, with a total cost of $114,159,832.
Tom Bent (Inner Core Committee) (City of Somerville) advocated for the MPO to program some or all of the $12 million in Major Infrastructure funding available in FFY 2025 for project #607981 in order to continue advancing the design to 25 percent.
Eric Bourassa (Metropolitan Area Planning Council [MAPC]) asked whether the intention is that the $12 million in FFY 2025 would be for one of the three LRTP projects, or if it could also be a placeholder for project increases. M. Genova replied that based on discussion at the March 19, 2020, meeting, MPO members showed interest in seeing options for funding an LRTP project, which is why the $12 million is held as an umbrella figure for one or multiple LRTP projects. The decision is up to the MPO. M. Genova stated that if the MPO wants to allocate funding to an LRTP project in this TIP cycle, his recommendation would be to make that decision now and not hold funding for potential LRTP projects in a future cycle. Without construction funding committed, it is difficult for projects to move forward with design.
L. Diggins asked what the minimum amount of funding is that the MPO could allocate to #607981 in order to ensure that design is completed.
D. Mohler stated that the issue at hand is a sense that unless a project is programmed in the TIP, MassDOT will not advance the design. D. Mohler stated that this is not the case. D. Mohler stressed that #607981 does not have to be programmed in FFY 2025 for MassDOT to continue its design. The MPO should program funding if they want to do so, but they should program what they believe the first year of construction will cost, not a token amount to make MassDOT pay attention and start the process.
Brian Kane (MBTA Advisory Board) expressed support for both the Community Connections and Transit Modernization funding programs as a great use of MPO funding.
Rich Benevento (WorldTech Engineering, Inc.) provided context for the cost increases for project #607652. In developing 75 percent design plans, several issues emerged that affect cost. A concrete slab was found under the majority of Ferry Street that required additional subsurface exploration. Street lighting on the project accounts for $3 million by itself. R. Benevento stated that the city and its consultant have attempted to reduce costs to the best of their ability despite additional issues. R. Benevento stated that going forward, it behooves the MPO, MassDOT, and consultants to try and ascertain more accurate estimates at the initial project scoping stage. R. Benevento stated that in the last year, he has observed costs on Complete Streets projects to be 30 to 40 percent above normal unit pricing, and careful adjustments must be made to be realistic with project estimates.
D. Amstutz stated that these cost updates made it hard to utilize the scenario as presented for decision-making and that it was frustrating to receive news of large cost increases for projects programmed in FFY 2020 at this stage in development. D. Amstutz added that he would be in favor of programming some money for #607981 in FFY 2025 given that the other two LRTP projects will not require as much funding.
A. Clausen asked whether the other two Major Infrastructure projects are municipal projects or MassDOT-led. M. Genova replied that the municipality proposes #605313, and #609246 is MassDOT-proposed. M. Genova added that MassDOT’s Bridge Division is looking at the design of Natick. J. Bechard added that the design of Natick is proceeding.
T. Bent stated that the City of Somerville is satisfied as long as there is a commitment that the design of #607981 will proceed.
D. Mohler apologized on behalf of MassDOT that the cost estimates for project #607652 were adjusted at the last minute, stating that unfortunately design schedules and TIP schedules do not always align. D. Mohler added that the MPO will have to find a way to accommodate this increase in FFY 2020 in order to vote on a TIP amendment and a draft final programming scenario.
M. Genova stated that funding for FFY 2020 can remain as shown in the draft programming scenario, assuming members are comfortable doing so.
Tom Kadzis (City of Boston) (Boston Transportation Department) commented that the MPO has traditionally accommodated all cost increases for programmed projects and, echoing R. Benevento’s earlier comments, suggested attempting to program design contingencies in the future.
D. Mohler noted that MassDOT had originally recommended delaying project #607652 to FFY 2021. In order to fund #607652 in FFY 2021 with the cost changes, the MPO must find this funding in FFY 2021. Because the cost now exceeds $25 million dollars, the MPO could fund it over several years. J. Monty, J. Bechard, R. Benevento all confirmed that the project is at least a two-season construction project, if not three seasons.
M. Genova stated that one option would be to leave FFY 2021 as it is currently proposed in the scenario, which would cover $16.6 million of #607652 in that year. The rest of the cost could be programmed in FFY 2022. The MPO would have to make further adjustments in FFY 2022 to accommodate that change. The other option would be to fund all $25 million in FFY 2021. This would require the MPO to adjust the advance construction schedule for project #606476, which is currently split between FFY 2021 and FFY 2022. The easiest solution would be move approximately $8.5 million for #606476 from FFY 2021 to 2022.
E. Bourassa asked whether it would be possible to move a project from FFY 2021 to FFY 2020, and adjust funding for project #1570 in FFY 2020. M. Genova stated that the amount allocated to #1570 in the scenario has already been disbursed, so the MPO cannot allocate less money.
D. Amstutz asked for more information on #608228, which was recommended to be pushed out a year. D. Mohler clarified that given recent updates, MassDOT is comfortable keeping it in FFY 2021.
Eric Johnson (City of Framingham) clarified that #608228 is on schedule.
L. Diggins advocated for funding $16 million for #607652 in FFY 2020, and spreading the rest of the funding over FFYs 2021 and 2022, delaying some other projects, and using the $12 million in FFY 2025 to absorb some of those costs.
Richard Canale (At-Large Town) (Town of Lexington) expressed support for funding #607652 in FFY 2021 as proposed in the scenario, and moving equivalent funds out of #606476 to FFY 2022.
D. Amstutz asked whether D. Mohler expected that any statewide funding would become available to fund any of these projects. D. Mohler stated that he could not confirm this with any certainty.
David Koses (At-Large City) (City of Newton) asked whether funding #607652 over three years versus two years would have an impact on the construction schedule. D. Mohler clarified that the MPO has the leeway to program #607652 over one, two, or three years, but this would not solve the problem of the unavailability of $9 million in any of those three years.
John Romano (MassDOT Highway Division) asked whether moving #606453 into FFY 2021 could solve this issue. D. Mohler stated that this would not solve the issue, and the MPO must decide what projects are moving out of the TIP or into FFY 2025.
M. Genova clarified that the options before the MPO are essentially to decrease funding for #606226 in an earlier year and find that funding in FFY 2025 or FFY 2026, or delay other projects, which will have a chain reaction effect throughout the TIP.
B. Kane asked for clarification on what it means that project #608164 is flagged as not being able to advertise in its programming year. D. Mohler stated that when MassDOT holds TIP Readiness days with MPO staff, there are projects that MassDOT is not willing to say are absolutely unable to meet their schedule, but that it is important to flag the project as concerning.
J. Bechard stated that initially this project was noted as possibly not ready to advertise in FFY 2022. Since then, MassDOT has spoken with the town and determined that FFY 2022 remains realistic.
L. Diggins asked whether this project could be funded over more than one year. D. Mohler stated that projects must be scheduled for construction over more than one year and exceed $25 million.
There was some discussion of the construction schedule for project #607777 (Rehabilitation of Mount Auburn Street [Route 16] in Watertown). R. Benevento confirmed that the project has a two-year construction schedule.
B. Kane advocated for splitting the cost increase for #607652 over two years.
D. Mohler stated that the MPO must decide which project totaling $9 million it is willing to delay or remove from the TIP.
B. Kane advocated for keeping $16 million in FFY 2020, moving $9 million to FFY 2021, and moving #608164 to FFY 2022.
M. Genova clarified that the MPO’s alternatives are to move funding for #606226 in any given year or continue to delay projects throughout the TIP.
D. Mohler stressed that advanced construction is not supposed to be used to move funds around to accommodate other projects, and the MPO cannot program a token amount for #606226 in an early year and backload costs.
L. Diggins advocated for moving #608164 and #607738 back, stating that the Advisory Council expressed concern about cost increases. L. Diggins noted that the evaluation score for project #608164 is somewhat low.
B. Suedmeyer stated that #608164 is a significant regional and municipal priority and municipal staff have been working hard to advance it in very close coordination with MassDOT. B. Suedmeyer stated that the design public hearing is anticipated to be held soon and the town does not anticipate significant right-of-way issues. B. Suedmeyer acknowledges the difficult choice before the MPO but advocated for keeping it programmed in FFY 2022.
D. Mohler noted that moving $13 million from #608164 back one year requires moving other projects into later years.
R. Canale advocated for deciding which projects proposed for funding in FFY 2025 that the MPO is willing to delay.
D. Mohler asked whether there is reason to believe any of the Major Infrastructure projects will be ready to advertise in FFY 2025, as opposed to FFY 2026 or beyond.
J. Bechard stated that while MassDOT will continue with design without funding fully committed to the LRTP projects, it is ambitious to expect that any of the LRTP projects will be ready to advertise in FFY 2025.
T. Bent stated that the City of Somerville would like to see construction on project #607981 begin in FFY 2026 as long as D. Mohler can commit that the design will continue. D. Mohler agreed that design work will continue.
B. Kane stated that it might be fair to cover a $9 million cost increase for one Everett project, #607652, if the MPO then moves project #609257 (Rehabilitation of Beacham Street, from Route 99 to Chelsea City Line in Everett) into FFY 2025. D. Mohler clarified that leaving the Major Infrastructure program issue for next year would actually move #609257 from FFY 2024 to FFY 2025.
E. Bourassa asked whether this decision must be made at this meeting. D. Mohler stated that the MPO does not have to make the decision at this meeting, but delaying the decision to another meeting would delay the MassDOT Capital Investment Plan, and the advertisement of projects throughout the state.
Janie Dretler (Sudbury Board of Selectmen) advocated for keeping #608164 in FFY 2022. J. Dretler expressed worry that delaying this project will delay other important improvements planned in Sudbury.
J. Monty stated that the City of Everett is willing to move #609257 into FFY 2025.
L. Diggins advocated for moving #607738 back one year and #609257 into FFY 2025.
D. Mohler stated that if there was no Major Infrastructure program in FFY 2025 and #609257 is moved in FFY 2025, that creates a $10.6 million availability in FFY 2024, and the MPO could then move projects equaling $10.6 million from FFY 2023 into FFY 2024. D. Mohler stated that the MPO would need to move some combination of the remaining FFY 2023 projects into FFY 2024, or move an FFY 2022 project into FFY 2023, and work with the cash flows in FFY 2021 and FFY 2022. For example, the MPO could move #606453 into FFY 2023, which would allow the MPO to fund #607652 over two years by altering the cash flow for #606226.
M. Genova stated that this scenario would necessitate taking $9 million in funding from #606226 in FFY 2023 into FFY 2024, unless the MPO moves another project totaling approximately $9 million from FFY 2023 into FFY 2024.
D. Amstutz stated that #608933 appears to be the farthest out in terms of design. D. Amstutz asked whether #607738 is still proposed to be pushed out to FFY 2023, and not any further.
D. Mohler stated that there has been no decision made on projects #608164 or #607738. D. Mohler stated that the MPO could move #608933 into FFY 2023 and then decide whether it wants to move #606453, #608164 or #607738 into FFY 2023, which would delay one of those projects by a year. D. Mohler stated that he would not support moving one Boston project if it would have a negative impact on another Boston project.
B. Kane advocated for moving #607738 back a year.
R. Canale asked about the design status of #608933. M. Genova stated that he was not aware of any tangible updates on the progress of #608933. R. Canale stated that this project seems to be the prime candidate to move from FFY 2023 to FFY 2024.
L. Diggins stated that #608007 (Corridor Improvements and Related Work on Justice Cushing Highway [Route 3A] from Beechwood Street to Henry Turner Bailey Road in Cohasset and Scituate) is lower scoring, and advocated for pushing this project back rather than #608933.
D. Amstutz objected to moving #607738 any further back than FFY 2023.
A. Clausen agreed with L. Diggins on moving Cohasset rather than #608933.
William Paulitz (City Engineer, City of Peabody) stated that the City of Peabody is approximately two weeks out from submitting 25 percent design plans for #608933.
Steven Boudreau (Town of Hingham) stated that Hingham has objected to pushing #605168 from FFY 2024 to FFY 2025. S. Boudreau stated that this project has been ongoing since 2009 and is well within schedule. The design public hearing was originally scheduled for April. This has been pushed due to COVID-19, but the town is confident they will be ready in FFY 2023. S. Boudreau asked if there are any projects in FFY 2024 that could be pushed to FFY 2025 to make room for some of these projects that will be ready in FFY 2024.
R. Benevento stated that the design plans for #608933 could be submitted as early as next week. R. Benevento stated that this is a high scoring project and a key project for the city. R. Benevento noted that there is widespread public support for the project.
M. Genova summarized the impact of the discussion so far on the programming scenario. In 2020, the scenario remained the same as proposed. In 2021, the scenario remained the same as proposed. The remainder of the cost increases for #607652 was programmed in FFY 2022. To account for that additional cost, #606453 moved to FFY 2023. From FFY 2023, #608007 moved into FFY 2024. Project #609257 moved from FFY 2024 to 2025. The $12 million originally allocated to Major Infrastructure in FFY 2025 decreased to $1.1 million. That funding could be left unallocated, used to program a small project, or allocated to project #606226. Tina Cassidy (North Suburban Planning Council) (City of Woburn) advocated for leaving this balance unprogrammed.
Before voting on approval of the draft programming scenario, there was some discussion of delaying the vote, the length of the public comment period for TIP Amendment Three, whether the MPO should delay the release of the amendment by a week, and whether the MPO could delay the amendment and thus shorten the public comment period to 14 days. The MPO’s Public Participation Plan allows the MPO to reduce public review periods to a minimum of 15 days in extraordinary circumstances.
D. Mohler summarized the actions the MPO would now take. First, the board would vote on whether to approve the draft programming scenario decided upon during discussion. Then, the board would vote on whether to release Amendment Three to the FFYs 2020-24 TIP for a 21-day public comment period. If the MPO approves the draft scenario, MPO staff will incorporate the scenario into a draft TIP document. The MPO will then vote on releasing the draft document for public comment at the MPO meeting on April 30, 2020.
A motion to approve a draft programming scenario for the FFYs 2021–25 TIP was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane) and seconded by At-Large Town (Town of Lexington) (R. Canale). The motion carried.
M. Genova stated that the changes to MPO projects included in Amendment Three are the same as those changes to projects in the draft programming scenario just voted on by the MPO, with the exceptions that the amendment includes FFY 2020, omits FFY 2025, and includes other changes to statewide highway and transit funding. Two statewide highway projects are being moved from FFY 2020 to FFY 2021, and two others experienced cost changes. The changes to transit funding document the awarding of two grants through MassDOT’s Workforce Transportation Grant program to Cape Ann Transportation Authority and MetroWest Regional Transit Authority.
A motion to release the draft Amendment Three to the FFYs 2020–24 TIP for a 21-day public review period was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane) and seconded by MAPC (E. Bourassa). The motion carried.
This amendment is required to include the projects
programmed in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP that have exceeded the MPO’s $20 million
threshold for inclusion in Destination
D. Mohler noted that LRTP amendments require a 30-day public review period. T. Teich stated that the MPO has the discretion to reduce the length of the public review period.
A motion to release the draft Amendment One to the Destination 2040 LRTP for a 21-day public review period was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane). The motion carried.
B. Muller presented Amendment One to the FFY 2020 UPWP. This amendment would add a new task titled, “CTPS Strategic Planning and MPO Operations Plans Support” to the FFY 2020 UPWP. This task will enable CTPS to engage in the development of a five-year strategic plan and provide direction for an MPO Operations Plan consistent with the corrective action outlined by the MPO’s federal partners in the 2018 certification review. This task has a budget of $120,000, and is funded through unused FFY 2019 Federal Transit Administration 5303 funds.
A motion to release the draft Amendment One to the FFY 2020 UPWP for a 21-day public review period was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane). The motion carried.
This item was postponed to the next meeting.
There were none.
A motion to adjourn was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane) and seconded by MAPC (E. Bourassa). The motion carried.
At-Large City (City of Everett)
At-Large City (City of Newton)
At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)
At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)
City of Boston (Boston Planning &
City of Boston (Boston Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Transit Administration
Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
MassDOT Highway Division
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Massachusetts Port Authority
MBTA Advisory Board
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of
Thatcher Kezer III
Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal
Coordination (Town of Acton)
North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)
North Suburban Planning Council (City of
Regional Transportation Advisory Council
South Shore Coalition (Town of Rockland)
South West Advisory Planning Committee
(Town of Medway)
Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of
Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce)
Three Rivers Interlocal Council Alternate
MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning
Town of Hingham
City of Peabody
Sudbury Board of Selectmen
Town of Sudbury
City of Framingham
BETA Group, Inc.
Town of Westwood
Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee
Town of Wilmington
Town of Hull
Formerly Sudbury Board of Selectmen
Sudbury Board of Selectmen
City of Peabody
Town of Hopkinton
City of Chelsea
City of Somerville
City of Quincy
Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff
Tegin Teich, Executive Director
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
(MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with
federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related
statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally
assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America
shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited
English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits
of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity
that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws
administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration,
or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability.
The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI
Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In
addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs,
services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in
compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on
federal Executive Order 13166.
The Boston Region MPO also complies with the
Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a,
which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in
admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race,
color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability,
or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's
Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities,
and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or
contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful
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orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry,
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veterans), or background.
A complaint form and additional information can be
obtained by contacting the MPO or at http://www.bostonmpo.org/mpo_non_discrimination. To request this
information in a different language or in an accessible format, please
Title VI Specialist