This fact sheet outlines proposed policy changes to the Boston Region MPO’s TIP process. This proposal is available in a more detailed format in a memo submitted to the MPO board for consideration at the board’s meeting on Thursday, September 23, 2021. At that meeting, the board voted to release this proposal for public review. The MPO welcomes feedback on these proposed policies. The public comment period will close at 5:00 PM on Monday, October 18, 2021.
The TIP Project Cost Ad Hoc Committee is comprised of Boston Region MPO board members who volunteered their time to help address persistent cost increases for those projects funded through the TIP, the MPO’s five-year capital plan. In recent years, cost increases to projects selected for funding by the MPO have limited the board’s ability to fund new projects, as little funding remained available after all cost increases were covered.
The MPO board established this committee in April 2021 to explore solutions to this challenge. The committee’s work formally began on June 3, 2021. Over the course of six meetings throughout the summer of 2021, the committee explored data on past TIP project funding, identified key issues, and drafted policy proposals for consideration by the full MPO board.
The committee, comprised of nine members of the MPO board, is chaired by the representative of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Additional seats are held by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) Highway Division, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Advisory Board, the Regional Transportation Advisory Council, and five municipalities in the Boston region (Boston, Everett, Medway, Rockland, and Somerville).
The committee identified several issues concerning current MPO practice that have contributed to the cost increase challenges faced by the board during recent TIP development cycles:
To address the issues identified above, the committee proposed policies that fell into three categories:
The committee recommended that the MPO should require project proponents to submit 25 percent design plans and obtain an updated cost estimate from MassDOT, based on these plans, to be eligible for TIP funding. This policy would apply to all projects considered for funding by the MPO.
Coupled with this higher programming threshold, the committee recommended that the MPO make three complementary policy changes:
To enhance proactive communication between all TIP stakeholders, the committee recommended that the MPO do the following:
The committee recommended that the MPO establish a process to adjudicate project cost increases when they occur. That process would follow these steps:
These proposed changes would be implemented immediately following adoption, which is anticipated in November 2021. Therefore, the proposed policies would be in effect for the development of the FFY 2023–27 TIP, which will occur between October 2021 and June 2022. The MPO would reserve the right to adjust the implementation timeline for individual components of the proposed policy based on changing needs and conditions.
No projects currently funded in the Boston Region MPO’s FFYs 2022–26 TIP will see immediate changes to their funding amounts or programming years as a result of these proposed policy changes. If these policies are adopted by the MPO, any future decisions on project funding and schedules will be made by the board using these policies as a guiding framework.
Boston Region MPO staff will host an open house on Thursday, October 14, 2021, at noon via Zoom. All stakeholders, including municipal staff, state and regional partners, advocacy groups, and members of the public, are encouraged to attend. MPO staff will give a short presentation on the proposed policies, leaving the majority of the hour open for questions and comments from attendees.
More information on the proposed policies, including links to past committee meeting materials, is also available on the Boston Region MPO’s website.
The Boston Region MPO welcomes feedback on this proposal from all stakeholders in the TIP process. Written feedback may be provided through the MPO’s online feedback form or via email to Matt Genova, TIP Manager, at email@example.com. Input is also welcome at the open house on October 14 and at the MPO meeting on Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 10:00 AM.
The public comment period will close at 5:00 PM on Monday, October 18, 2021.
The MPO board anticipates reviewing all public comments submitted on this proposal at its meeting on Thursday, November 4, 2021, at 10:00 AM. Based on this feedback, the board may then make adjustments to the proposed policies before voting to approve them. Once final policy changes have been adopted, MPO staff will communicate the new policies to all TIP stakeholders. Specific care will be taken to ensure that current and prospective TIP project proponents understand the implications of these policy changes for their projects in the coming months and years.
You are invited to participate in our transportation planning process, regardless of your race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), religion, creed, gender, ancestry, ethnicity, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran’s status, or background. Read our full notice of rights and protections at www.bostonmpo.org/mpo_non_discrimination.
To request special accommodations, or if you need this information in another language, contact the MPO at 857.702.3700 (voice), or firstname.lastname@example.org (please allow 14 days). For people with hearing or speaking difficulties, connect through the state MassRelay service at 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.
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