January 30th Information &

Resource Update

In this issue....

  • Governor Files Housing & Economic Development Bond Bill

  • Mass. Life Sciences Center Accepting Applications for Workforce Development Capital Grant Program

  • EPA Accepting Public Comment on National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives

  • T-Mobile Grant Program for Cities and Towns

  • 495/MetroWest Partnership Working Groups: Transportation, Planning and Economic Development

Governor Files Housing & Economic Development Bond Bill

On January 19th, Governor Healey filed H.51, An Act Financing the Immediate Economic Revitalization, Community Development, and Housing Needs of the Commonwealth, a bond bill comprised of $987 million in funding authorizations envisaged as a mechanism for continued investment in housing, and economic and workforce development priorities.

The bill authorizes spending for a number of existing programs, and equips the Commonwealth with matching funds for several federal grant programs. The bill also effectively creates two new affordable housing programs, one aimed at bolstering multifamily units that incorporate sustainable and climate resilient design practices and another aimed at supporting low- and moderate-income housing production in close proximity to transit.

The bill has been referred to the Temporary House Committee on Ways & Means. Click here to access the complete text of the legislation. Key provisions include:

Infrastructure and Economic Development:

  • $400 million for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program
  • $200 million for Massachusetts Tech Park Corporation to compete for federal grant funding in artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, data storage, quantum computing and information systems, robotics and advanced automation (CHIPS Act)
  • $104 million deposit in the Water Pollution Abatement Revolving Fund
  • $20 million to establish an innovation program that promotes partnerships between academic institutions, federally funded research, industry, and venture firms to spur development in defense, health, commercial, and public sectors
  • $15 million in matching grants for advanced manufacturing projects in partnership with higher education institutions, including state and municipal colleges and universities that align with the Manufacturing USA Institute
  • $34 million for program assistance to support projects that will rehabilitate or redevelop blighted, abandoned, or underutilized properties to increase housing production, spur economic development, conserve natural resources, and increase ADA-compliance amongst existing commercial buildings
  • $9.3 million for the Massachusetts Broadband Incentive Fund to middle mile investments and capital repairs to broadband infrastructure owned by Mass Tech Park Corporation
  • $30 million in matching grants to enable public entities to compete for federal community broadband grant programs funded through the Invest in America Jobs Act (IIJA)

Planning and Community Development:

  • $4 million in competitive grants for municipalities and non-profit entities administered by the Office of Travel & Tourism to improve facilities and destinations frequented by in and out-of-state travelers with the purpose of increasing annual visitation to those sites and capturing the direct and indirect economic benefits of tourism travel across the Commonwealth. Recipients are subject to a match based on a graduated formula and required to measure and report return-on-investment data with the Office of Travel & Tourism upon expenditure of the funds
  • $25 million in municipal grant funding for approved library projects
  • $5 million in grant funding for municipalities, through individually or jointly submitted applications or through applications submitted through a regional planning agency, towards the siting and establishment of housing and emergency shelters
  • $1 million available to municipalities and regional applicants for grants and technical assistance to support planning, community development, housing production, workforce training, child care and early education initiatives, climate resilience and preparedness initiatives
  • $5 million in competitive grants administered by the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency to support economic development, job creation, housing, and climate resilience initiatives in rural communities with fewer than 7,000 year-round residents or less than 500 persons per square mile


  • $48 million in authorizations to support renovation, remodeling, repair, and reconstruction of state-assisted public housing, provided that 25% of funds support housing for families and individuals at or below 30% of the area median income
  • $11.6 million in loans towards the development of community housing or supportive housing for individuals with mental illness or intellectual disabilities that serve households at 15% or of the area median income or less. Loans issued pursuant to this item are subject to the following requirements:
  • Funds shall not exceed 50% of total development costs
  • Contract in place for remittance to the Commonwealth upon the disposition of property
  • Fixed interest rate determined by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Properties are subject to a deed restriction of no more than 30 years during which repayment may be deferred by the loan issuing authority; extensions of no more than 10 years may be granted, provided a need for such housing persists and continued funding for the provisions of services is still available
  • $16 million in financial assistance for the Housing Stabilization and Investment Trust Fund provided that no less than 25% of said assistance preserves or produces units for families or individuals at an income level at or below 30% of the area median income
  • $8 million for the Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund
  • $8.5 million in grant assistance for a five-year program to demonstrate cost effective revitalization methods for state-aided family and elderly-disabled public housing that reduce the need for future modernization funding
  • $10 million in financial assistance for the Housing Innovations Trust Fund provided that no less than 25% of said assistance preserves or produces units for families or individuals at an income level at or below 30% of the area median income
  • $2 million in grant and loan opportunities to accelerate and support low-income and moderate-income housing in close proximity to transit nodes with the aim of increasing density, compact development, and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods; increasing mass transit ridership; decreasing vehicular congestion and reducing GHG emissions; and increasing economic opportunity to disadvantaged populations. Eligible entities include governmental bodies, community development corporations, local housing authorities, community action agencies, neighborhood-based non-profit housing organizations, and other for-profit and non-profit organizations. Funding pursuant to this item is subject to the following requirements:
  • Individuals assisted through this item must not have an income level that exceeds 110% of the area median income
  • 25% of the occupants assisted through this item must be at or below 60% of the area median income
  • $1 million to accelerate the creation and preservation of affordable multifamily housing that incorporates sustainable and climate resilient design practices, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, increases resiliency of existing housing developments, and enhances emergency preparedness including sustainable power generation to allow for sheltering in place. Funding pursuant to this item is subject to the following requirements:
  • Individuals assisted through this item must not have an income level that exceeds 110% of the area median income
  • 25% of the occupants assisted through this item must be at or below 60% of the area median income

The legislation must be taken up by each branch before returning to the Governor for her signature or veto. Note that inclusion in a bond bill, when signed into law, does not mean an item or project is imminently due to be funded, only that the administration has the authorization necessary to borrow the funds and utilize those funds for the designated purpose.

Mass. Life Sciences Center Accepting Applications for Workforce Development Capital Grant Program

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is accepting applications for their Workforce Development Capital Grant Program aimed at launching, expanding, and enhancing training programs that address skills and talent supply gaps facing the commonwealth’s life science industry. The program awards up to $750,000 per project for the purchase and installation of life sciences equipment, lab furniture, materials, supplies, or technology that will enable eligible entities to effectively prepare students for high-demand career opportunities in the life sciences.

Applicants must be a Massachusetts-based legally organized not-for-profit college, university, or organization delivering post-secondary life sciences training. Applicants are required to create an account with MLSC prior to accessing the application.

Applications are due by March 15th at 5:00 PM (EST). Questions about the application process may be directed to mlsccapital@masslifesciences.com

EPA Accepting Public Comment on National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives

The EPA announced that it is seeking public comment on its proposal to address environmental justice, climate change, and PFAS contamination in its National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives (NECIs). Every four years, EPA selects national initiatives to focus resources on "serious and widespread environmental problems where federal enforcement can make a difference." 

From EPA: "While formal enforcement remains the key tool to address serious environmental problems and significant violations, as well as create general deterrence, EPA also uses a variety of compliance assurance tools to achieve this objective. To reflect this comprehensive approach, EPA has changed the name from National Compliance Initiatives to National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives."

In selecting initiatives for the FY 2024-2027 cycle, EPA will use the following three criteria to evaluate the existing and proposed new initiatives: (1) the need to address serious and widespread environmental issues and significant violations impacting human health and the environment, particularly in overburdened and vulnerable communities; (2) areas where federal enforcement can help ensure national consistency, promote a level playing field, and achieve compliance; and (3) alignment with the Agency's Strategic Plan.

EPA is soliciting comments on the proposed changes to the NECIs during a 60 public comment period. Click here to access EPA’s Federal Register Notice and learn how to submit comments. The comment period remains open until March 13th, 2023. 

T-Mobile Grant Program for Cities and Towns

T-Mobile is accepting applications for their nationwide Hometown Grant Program for the first quarter of 2023. In partnership with Smart Growth America and Main Street America, T-Mobile’s Hometown Grant awards up to $50,000 in funding for infrastructure or revitalization efforts focused on improving communal spaces that help foster local connections. Hometown Grants are awarded every quarter to up to 25 small cities and towns.

Municipalities with 50,000 residents or less are eligible to apply.

Proposals will be accepted on a quarterly basis. Proposals for the current quarter are due by April 1st, 2023; click here to access application materials.

Proposals should be three to five pages, including, but not limited to:

  • Detailed description of project
  • Detailed budget, including breakdown of budget line items
  • Project timeline

“Shovel ready” plans should include:

  • Outline of expected town outcomes, demonstrating how the project or strategy will lead to the anticipated result/change
  • Details on permits needed/obtained, if applicable, to begin work upon receipt of funds
  • Any additional companies/business partnerships to be contracted for the work

All proposals should include up to 5 letters of support from local government and/or community organizations, partners or members, demonstrating community alignment, engagement, and consensus for the proposed project. Applicants will be notified 30-60 days after the end of each quarter on the status of their submission. 

495/MetroWest Partnership Working Groups:

Transportation, Planning & Economic Development

Transportation Working Groups

In accordance with our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, the 495/MetroWest Partnership's Transportation Committee is establishing working groups for the purpose of reviewing and updating regional priorities on the key transportation topics of Commuter Rail service, Regional Transit Authority services, and roadway projects of regional significance. Partnership stakeholders are invited to express interest in participating by utilizing this brief form.

  • The Commuter Rail Working Group will consider what improved commuter rail service entails in today's world along the Franklin, Fitchburg, and Framingham-Worcester Lines. The group will consider current service levels, including off-peak, reverse commute, and express services, reliability, scheduling, station infrastructure and accessibility, ease of parking, and capital improvements. The group will also consider development patterns and zoning regulations, such as Housing Choice, that support ridership growth and a modal shift away from single occupancy vehicles. The first session of the Commuter Rail Working Group has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th at 8:00 AM; click here to register.
  • The Regional Transit Authorities Working Group will consider what robust RTA service means in the 495/MetroWest region. The working group will consider historic challenges and analyze current conditions to determine where there are unmet needs. The group will review past organizational comments on interconnectivity and consider goals on that topic, and consider strategies which may address service provisions, operating hours, funding streams, and scheduling coordination with other agencies. Cross-RTA and cross RTA-MBTA services currently operating in the region will be reviewed. The group may also consider emerging mobility trends and considerations, such as fare free fixed-route service, the sprouting of demand response services throughout the region, and what role Transit Management Associations (TMAs) can play in enhancing workforce commuting options.
  • The Roadway Projects Review Working Group will review roadway, interchange, and intersection projects that significantly impact regional mobility and address safety and operational concerns. The group will cultivate a list of such projects similar to the 495/MetroWest Partnership "Transportation Nightmares" work undertaken in both 2004 and 2014. This group will only consider roadway projects with regional impact, as opposed to projects located entirely within a single municipality which do not impact traffic in another. 

These groups will meet virtually, during the first and second quarters of 2023. Between 3 and 5 meetings are anticipated for each. Participation is open to all interested stakeholders. The role of the working groups is advisory in nature. Click here to express interest in taking part in one or more working group.

Planning and Economic Development Working Group

The Partnership has launched the 495/MetroWest Planning & Economic Development Working Group, with the following mission: To provide a setting in which planning and economic development officers from each of the 36 495/MetroWest Partnership municipalities may discuss and collaborate on common issues of relevance impacting communities and economic development in our region. Participants will focus on the shared goals of promoting sustainable economic growth, consistent with the Mission, Vision, Values, and Strategic Goals identified in the 495/MetroWest Partnership’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. All 36 member communities of the 495/MetroWest Partnership have been invited to designate planning and economic development staff (as defined by the municipality) to participate. Municipalities should limit participating staff to not more than two at any given time. The working group meets monthly on the third Thursday at 3:00 PM; sessions alternate between being hosted virtually and in-person. To learn more or to find out if your community has participating representatives, email the Executive Director at Jason@495Partnership.org.

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

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.
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