Draft Memorandum for the Record

Regional Transportation Advisory Council Meeting

May 13, 2020, Meeting Minutes

2:30 PM–4:10 PM, Zoom

Lenard Diggins, Chair, representing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Ridership Oversight Committee

Meeting Agenda


Lenard Diggins called the meeting to order at 2:30 PM. Members and guests attending the meeting introduced themselves. (For attendance list, see page five.)

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Capital Investment Plan (CIP)—Michelle Ho, Director of Capital Planning, MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning

Michelle Ho presented an overview of the CIP planning process at MassDOT. She said the CIP is a budget and policy document that MassDOT produces annually. M. Ho explained that the CIP covers all MassDOT and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) capital assets. She said that this CIP update addresses only fiscal year 2021 (FY21) and represents a one-year “maintenance of effort” plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

M. Ho listed some key aspects of the CIP FY21 update’s revised direction:

M. Ho also mentioned some more detailed aspects of the CIP FY21 update:

M. Ho discussed the present structure of the CIP process, starting with its three main priorities: reliability, modernization, and expansion. She explained that the next stage of CIP structure is programs, which are aligned by which priority they address. MassDOT staff then select the projects that best achieve the priority goals of each program. M. Ho then discussed several specific FY21 projects and explained how each fits into the CIP structure.

M. Ho discussed the scheduled opportunities for public input during four different phases of the CIP planning processes. She also mentioned three other ways the public can give input:


David Montgomery, Town of Needham, and M. Ho discussed how much public commentary is being received by MassDOT and whether it was shared with Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) staff when appropriate.

Andy Reker, City of Cambridge, and M. Ho discussed the universe of projects from which MassDOT staff select projects for the CIP.

John McQueen, WalkBoston, and M. Ho discussed how the Advisory Council is able to influence the CIP process, rather than as individuals.

L. Diggins, J. McQueen, and M. Ho discussed whether the Advisory Council could be involved earlier in MassDOT’s project selection process.

Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 202125 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)—Matt Genova, TIP Manager, MPO Staff

Matt Genova presented an overview of the TIP and the timeline of how it is developed annually by MPO staff. He highlighted two updates to the TIP document this year:

M. Genova discussed the breakdowns of FFYs 2021–25 MassDOT funding and MBTA funding by program category. He listed the breakdown of the MPO’s Regional Target funding by program category. M. Genova then presented the FFYs 2021–25 TIP committed funding levels by investment program relative to the goals set by the MPO in the Long-Range Transportation Plan. He also discussed the new Regional Target projects that are funded in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP, including five new projects in the pilot round of the Community Connections program.

M. Genova discussed other key decisions made in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP:


L. Diggins and M. Genova discussed how TIP project funding decisions are made for each program category.

Franny Osman, Acton Transportation Advisory Committee, and M. Genova discussed whether the multi-year funding plans made in the TIP could be modified by the MPO in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or other unforeseen circumstances.

Advisory Council Comment Letter on the FFYs 202125 TIP—Chris Porter, Chair, 3C Documents Committee

Chris Porter led a discussion of the draft comment letter by the Advisory Council to the MPO regarding its draft FFYs 2021–25 TIP. He began by listing the main points of the draft letter:


AnaCristina Fragoso, Boston Society of Civil Engineers, and Matt Archer, MPO staff, discussed whether projects could alternatively be scored by degree of readiness for construction. A.C. Fragoso said the MPO should consider requiring that projects be at the 75 percent design stage before municipalities submit them for consideration. She also said this could give insight into some of the cost overrun and cost effectiveness issues now being addressed by the MPO and MassDOT.

A. Reker suggested the letter include a point about appreciation of the MPO’s continued efforts to measure and address equity.

In response to comments by A.C. Fragoso and A. Reker, C. Porter added the following sentences to the draft comment letter:

A motion to empower C. Porter to formalize the comment letter for submission was made by WalkBoston (J. McQueen) and seconded by Boston Society of Civil Engineers (A.C. Fragoso). The motion carried.

Old Business, New Business, and Member Announcements

Lenard Diggins asked if there were any objections to publishing the audio recording of Advisory Council meetings on to the MPO web site calendar. There were no objections; however, D. Montgomery and L. Diggins discussed that the audio recordings should not be considered a replacement for the meeting minutes documents.


A motion to adjourn was made. The motion carried.



Member Municipalities

Representatives and Alternates

City of Cambridge

Andy Reker

Town of Needham

David Montgomery

City of Watertown

Laura Wiener


Member Citizen Advocacy Groups

Representatives and Alternates

MBTA Ridership Oversight Committee

Lenard Diggins

CrossTown Connect

Scott Zadakis

Acton Transportation Advisory Committee

Franny Osman

Boston Society of Architects

Schuyler Larrabee

Boston Society of Civil Engineers

AnaCristina Fragoso


Chris Porter


John McQueen


Agencies (Non-Voting)


Boston Planning and Development Agency

Joe Blankenship


Michelle Ho

Three Rivers Interlocal Council

Steve Olanoff


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Matt Archer

Barbara Rutman

Matt Genova



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 discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era 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 contact

Title VI Specialist
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116

By Telephone:
857.702.3700 (voice)

For people with hearing or speaking difficulties, connect through the state MassRelay service:

  • Relay Using TTY or Hearing Carry-over: 800.439.2370
  • Relay Using Voice Carry-over: 866.887.6619
  • Relay Using Text to Speech: 866.645.9870

For more information, including numbers for Spanish speakers, visit https://www.mass.gov/massrelay.