December 3rd Information &
Resource Update
Legislature Reaches ARPA Spending Agreement;
Bill Clears House, Expected to Pass Senate Today

A conference committee of state Senators and Representatives reached an agreement earlier this week on a major spending bill, which will utilize $4 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support various economic stimulus and pandemic response programs.

The compromise bill, H.4269, An Act Relative to Immediate COVID-19 Recovery Needs, appropriates funds among categories that include economic and workforce development, education, energy and the environment, health and human services, housing, the judiciary, and oversight activities.

The bill cleared the House of Representatives yesterday, and is expected to pass the Senate later today before proceeding to the Governor for his signature or vetoes.

Each chamber had previously passed its own version of an ARPA spending plan (the House in October, and the Senate in November). Differences between the two proposals were reconciled in a conference committee, which produced the compromise version.

The legislation proposes to allocate $4 billion among the following categories:
  • Economic Development/ Workforce, $1.57 billion
  • Education, $271 million
  • Energy & Environment, $370 million
  • Health & Human Services, $1.15 billion
  • Housing, $618 million
  • Oversight activities, $2 million

By subject matter, the proposed legislation includes, but is not limited to, the following expenditures:

Economic Development/Workforce
  • $500 million to support frontline workers through premium pay
  • $500 million to support businesses through the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
  • $135 million for cultural assets and workforce through the Mass. Cultural Council
  • $107.5 million for workforce supports, including $37.5 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, $25 million to expand Career Technical Institutes, and $7.5 million for green job initiatives
  • $100 million for vocational school infrastructure improvements to increase access 
  • $75 million for small business relief, including $50 million for minority-owned businesses
  • $50 million for broadband and internet access supports
  • $15 million to enhance the Commonwealth’s cybersecurity workforce
The bill provides tax relief for small-business owners who would have otherwise been required to pay personal income taxes on state or federal relief money.

Health & Human Services 
  • $400 million for behavioral initiatives, including $122 million for loan repayment, recruitment and retention initiatives
  • $260 million for financial supports for hospitals impacted by the pandemic
  • $200.1 million for our local and regional public health systems
  • $50 million for the state's nursing home workforce and care facility improvements
  • $50 million for at-risk youth, gun violence prevention, and re-entry programming initiatives
  • $44.8 million for food security supports
  • $30 million for human service provider workforce supports

  • $230 million for housing production programs, including $115 million for the CommonWealth Builder Program and $115 million for workforce rental housing
  • $65 million for first-time homebuyer assistance supports
  • $150 million for permanent supportive housing, including prioritization for chronically homeless populations and regional veteran housing options
  • $150 million for local housing authority maintenance improvements

Energy & Environment 
  • $100 million for environmental infrastructure supports, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program
  • $100 million for water and sewer infrastructure
  • $90 million for offshore wind and marine port development
  • $25 million for tree-planting initiatives
  • $15 million for state parks and open spaces
  • $6.5 million to retrofit affordable housing with clean energy options
  • $5 million to increase geothermal energy opportunities
The bill ensures continued funding for the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) program through June 2022 to help incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles.

  • $105 million for education supports, including $75 million for higher education maintenance supports, $20 million for special education supports, and $10 million for teacher diversity initiatives
  • $100 million for K-12 HVAC system upgrades
  • $25 million for the endowment incentive program
  • $24.5 million for the YMCAs, YWCAs, and Boys & Girls Clubs

Other Highlights
  • $5 million for Committee for Public Counsel Services COVID-19 related costs
  • $4.5 million for Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation COVID-19 related costs
  • $2 million for ARPA oversight costs, including $500K for an Equity and Accountability Panel

Click here to access the full text of the legislation. As the bill is a conference report, it cannot be further amended by either branch; it may only receive an up-or-down vote as written.
Webinar: New Round of Shared Streets & Spaces Grant Program

MassDOT is planning to open a new round of the Shared Streets and Spaces grant program in January 2022. MAPC will host a webinar on the next round of funding on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 at 10:00 AM; click here to register for the webinar. The new round of funding will focus on transit and roadway safety.

The webinar will provide details regarding the new round of funding, and will include a presentation from MassDOT. The webinar will also include a presentation from the Barr Foundation on a new report, Quick and Creative Street Projects, that provides results from 23 municipalities that received program funding throughout 2020 and 2021.

The Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program was first established in June 2020 in the wake of the pandemic to assist municipalities in meeting their individual needs for more and safer outdoor recreation, commerce, community activities, and mobility. The program was then relaunched in November 2020 to help municipalities address the particular challenges of winter amid the ongoing public health crisis. Grant-funded projects have ranged from dedicated bus and bike lanes to seasonal parklets, road diets, safer crosswalks, and new bike share stations.
For LRRP Communities: Technical Assistance Available for
Project Funding Support

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has assembled a Funding Resource Team comprised of consultants and Regional Planning Agency staff to help identify appropriate funding sources for Local Rapid Recovery Plan (LRRP) projects. The Team is able to provide guidance on funding application requirements, key aspects to highlight in applications, expected levels of effort, grant timelines, and more. 

Each LRRP community is invited to submit a brief application for specific funding assistance. The application will include general information about the community and questions to determine the appropriate funding assistance for projects identified within the municipality’s LRRP. Click here to access the application; only the designated LRRP community liaison from a municipality should submit the application. Applications are open until December 17th, 2021, however liaisons are encouraged to complete the application as soon as possible. 

Up to two projects per community are eligible to receive guidance from the funding resource team. The choice of which projects will be reviewed for funding assistance is at the discretion of the municipality.

Within 1-2 business days of receiving an online request, technical assistance team members will reach out to schedule an initial 1-hour online meeting between the RRP community and a member(s) of the Funding Resource Team. This meeting will focus on sharing information about the project, local capacity to pursue, and potential funding options for each project.  
In Case You Missed It: Check Out the 495/MetroWest
Supply Chain Directory

In response to nationwide supply chain issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 495/MetroWest Partnership has undertaken an effort to support and promote businesses in the region engaged in manufacturing, supplying raw materials, warehousing, transportation, and logistics. The Partnership is pleased to launch the 495/MetroWest Supply Chain Directory, an online informational resource focused on enhancing information about these businesses, aimed at supporting regional supply chain resiliency and encouraging local sourcing. The new directory can be accessed online at

The project was funded through a grant awarded from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, as part of its 2021 Regional Pilot Program, a statewide effort to spur economic activity as the state reopened following pandemic-related closures.
The directory launched with over 250 businesses across the 36 cities and towns served by the 495/MetroWest Partnership. Eligible businesses may request to be included in the directory via a portal available directly on the site; there is no cost to a business to be listed. To be eligible, a business must have a physical presence in one of the region’s 36 cities and towns, and produce unfinished goods, components, or materials not intended for retail sale to the public, or otherwise be engaged in transportation and logistics.

The directory is intended to be a living project; businesses interested in being included are encouraged to submit their information through the +Add Your Business portal at the top of the directory.

Statistics about businesses currently listed in the directory:
  • 93 different industries are represented across all manufacturing listings
  • The top two manufacturing industries are Machine Shops and Analytical Laboratory Instrument Manufacturing
  • National Security and Medicinal & Botanical Manufacturing represent two of the most common client industries of the region’s manufacturers
  • The region has a strong presence of Chemical and Allied Products and Electronic Parts and Equipment wholesalers
  • Of municipalities in the region, Hudson has highest concentration of firms, followed by Franklin and Holliston. Marlborough had the most significant presence of multinational firms

Information available through the directory includes basic company descriptions, products or services produced, website and contact information, as well as client industries served. The new directory also includes information on transportation and logistics, highlighting the region’s convenient proximity to large and small airports, ports, highways, and rail infrastructure. 
Recent 495/MetroWest Partnership Events

You can view video recordings of recent 495/MetroWest Partnership committee meetings and events:

  • I-90 Allston Multimodal Project Presentation: The Transportation Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, Acting Chief Engineer Carrie Lavallee, and Project Manager Michael O’Dowd for a presentation on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project on Tuesday, November 23rd. The project will remove the existing Allston Viaduct carrying the Massachusetts Turnpike along the Charles River in Boston and likely construct an all-at-grade replacement of the Turnpike, Soldiers Field Road, and commuter rail tracks. Click here to access the slide presentation from the event. The proposed project will further create a new stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Line to be known as West Station. The completed project, as well as its 8-10 year construction phase, will have a substantial impact on commuters and businesses to the west of Boston. Attendees were provided a general overview of the project, and had the opportunity to ask questions of MassDOT. Click here to access a video recording of the presentation.

  • Transit Oriented Development Forum: The Housing Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted a virtual forum focused on Transit Oriented Development on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021. Panelists included Erika Oliver Jerram, Acting Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Framingham; Jamie Hellen, Town Administrator for the Town of Franklin; and Christopher McGoldrick, Town Planner for the Town of Grafton. The conversation focused on recent and in-progress TOD projects, as well as long-term visioning centered around Commuter Rail stations. Click here to view a recording of the discussion.

  • Water Resources Committee Meeting with Congresswoman Trahan: The Water Resources Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted Congresswoman Lori Trahan of Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District virtually on Thursday, November 4th, 2021. The Congresswoman discussed her work on the House Energy & Commerce and Natural Resources Committees, as well as comprehensive PFAS legislation recently passed by the House, and took questions from the audience. Congresswoman Trahan represents the 495/MetroWest Partnership communities of Acton, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Stow, Sudbury, and Westford. Click here to view a recording of the event.

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.