April 6th Information &
Resource Update
New Commuter Rail Schedules In Effect for Region

The new Spring 2021 Commuter Rail Schedule took effect yesterday, Monday, April 5th. The Spring 2021 schedule provides more trains during the middle of day, offering more consistent service options, and represents a service increase compared to the previous Winter Schedule that had been in effect since December 2020.

The Spring 2021 schedule is designed to utilize clock-face scheduling, or train service that is offered at regular and predictable intervals. For example, trains on the Worcester Line depart Union Station in Worcester every hour on the hour from 5:00 A.M. through 7:00 P.M. (with additional early morning and nighttime service digressing from this interval).

Weeknight service after 9:00 PM is preserved as part of the schedule change. Bicycles will continue to be permitted on all trains across all lines as part of the Spring 2021 schedule.

The new Fitchburg Line schedule will go into effect in May when full service is restored on the line following the work to upgrade the signal system for Positive Train Control (PTC), which is currently underway.

Click the respective link below to access new Commuter Rail schedules:
PPP Deadline Extended to May 31st

On March 30th, the President signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 into law, extending the Paycheck Protection Program an additional two months to May 31st, 2021, and providing an additional 30-day period for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to process applications that are still pending.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. Click here to access complete PPP program information.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant: Informational Webinar Posted

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program was established by last year's Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

The SBA, which administers the program, recorded an informational webinar on March 30th highlighting the application process for potential eligible entities; the webinar can be viewed online at this link.

Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

The program will begin accepting applications on Thursday, April 8th. Eligible entities include live venue operators or promoters; theatrical producers; live performing arts organization operators; relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria; motion picture theater operators; and more. Click here to access complete program information. Click here to access the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Application Portal.
MEDC to Host "Inside the Industry" Event

The Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently launched a live streaming series, “Inside the Industry,” wherein MEDC sits down with company leaders in Marlborough to learn more about their business and respective industries. The upcoming second episode will feature guests from Cytiva, a global provider of technologies and services within the Life Sciences industry and a recently-expanded presence in the region.

This event will be livestreamed on Wednesday, April 14th at 10:00 AM; click here to stream the event on the 14th.
Maynard, Acton, MAPC to Host Public Forum
for Powder Mill Corridor Study

The Towns of Maynard and Acton, along with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), will be hosting a second public forum for the Powder Mill Corridor Study on Thursday, April 8th at 6:00 PM. The project team will share recommendations based on community input, data, and analysis collected and conducted over the past year.  

I-90 Bridge Replacements: Upcoming Daytime Work on Local Roads &
Overnight Lane Closures on I-90

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced upcoming daytime work on local roads and overnight lane closures on I-90 that will take place in April 2021. The contractor and its subcontractors will be conducting the following work on local roads, primarily during the hours of 7:00 AM and 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Additional work hours may be employed occasionally on the local roads. Lane closures on local roads will be in place with alternating one-way traffic through work zones:

Cordaville Road, Southborough:
  • Drill micropiles for new bridge foundations on each side
  • Construct new bridge abutments

Woodland Road, Southborough:
  • Repair concrete facing of existing bridge abutments

Parkerville Road, Southborough:
  • Repair concrete facing of existing bridge abutments

Flanders Road, Westborough:
  • Repair concrete facing of existing bridge abutments
  • Relocate utility cables into the newly installed ductbank under the roadway

MassDOT will also implement overnight lane closures on I-90 East between Exits 106 (old Exit 11A) and 111 (old Exit 12) and I-90 West between Exits 111 (old Exit 12) and 106 (old Exit 11A) from 7:00 PM each night to 5:00 AM the following morning, Sunday through Friday. The closures are necessary for median barrier replacement, roadway surface milling, and paving operations. Temporary lighting installation will also continue along westbound and eastbound I-90.

The westbound and eastbound I-90 roadway will be re-striped to create work zones in the median for the construction of traffic crossovers to be used on bridge replacement weekends. Crews will also be working along the I-90 shoulders to install erosion control devices.

MassDOT is replacing bridges on I-90 eastbound and westbound over Flanders Road in Westborough and Parkerville Road, Cordaville Road, and Woodland Road in Southborough as part of this project. The replacement of the eight bridges (two spans per local road) will take place over eight weekends in summer 2021. For more information about the project, please visit the website at www.mass.gov/Acceler8Bridges. If you have questions or would like to report an issue or concern, please email the project team at A8@dot.state.ma.us.
Take the Annual 495/MetroWest Employer Survey!

The 495/MetroWest Partnership invites business and organizational leaders in our service area to take part in our annual 495/MetroWest Employer Survey!

This survey represents a collaborative effort between the 495/MetroWest Partnership and Framingham State University's MetroWest Economic Research Center (MERC). Your participation is greatly appreciated, and is leveraged to promote the region and to ensure its continued prosperity.

Key survey details:

  • Who should participate in this survey: owners, leaders, or individuals with regional hiring authority for private, public, or nongovernmental organizations that have a presence in the 495/MetroWest region.

  • This survey should only take about 5-7 minutes to complete.

  • Your individual responses will be anonymous; your answers will be aggregated and reported with all responses.

Thank you for your assistance in continuing this important economic assessment tool for our region.
Watch Recent Partnership Events!

You can now view recordings of recent 495/MetroWest Partnership events and committee meetings via our website!

  • Discussion with Congressman Jake Auchincloss: The Transportation Committee hosted a discussion with Congressman Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District on March 31st. Serving his first term, Congressman Auchincloss has been assigned to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Click here to view a recording of the meeting.

  • MWRA Presentation: The Water Resources Committee hosted a presentation from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the MWRA Advisory Board on Tuesday, March 30th. MWRA is a public authority established by the Legislature in 1984 to provide wholesale water and sewer services in 61 metropolitan Boston communities, including, at present, 6 communities in the Partnership’s service area. Click here to view a recording of the presentation. The presentation focused on MWRA’s activities and services in the Partnership’s service region, and how municipalities interested in joining MWRA may initiate that process. Click here to access the slide presentation from the event

  • Housing Committee First Session: The Housing Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted its first session on Thursday, March 25th. Click here to view a recording of the session. We hosted two presentations, each followed by a Question and Answer period: Amy Dain, Consultant, Dain Research, and author of The State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston, presented on the state of multi-family housing in the region and potential strategies going forward, and Chris Kluchman, Deputy Director of the Community Services Division at (DHCD presented an overview of the state’s new Housing Choice legislation and its implementation. Chris Kluchman's presentation slides can be downloaded via this link.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.