May 26th Information & Resource Update
MWRTA Launches New MicroTransit Service in Hudson
Beginning Saturday, June 4th, the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) will be expanding their Catch Connect MicroTransit program to include Saturday service in Hudson, supplementing existing fixed-route service in Hudson via MWRTA Route 15, which currently operates Monday through Friday. The Catch Connect will operate between 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM on Saturdays, allowing riders to book on-demand, door-to-door service anywhere within the Town of Hudson, as well as select destinations in Marlborough, which provide riders with connections to MWRTA Route 7 and 7C Saturday.
Catch Connect vehicles are fully accessible. Detailed services maps and instructions on how to use the Catch Connect service can be found at www.mwrta.com/catch. Riders can book trips directly through their smartphone devices using the MWRTA Catch App, which comes equipped with vehicle tracking, or by dialing (508) 283-5083 to book with a MWRTA representative.
The Catch Connect service will start out as a fare-free service, but will eventually migrate to a debit-based system. For more information on Catch Connect, riders can visit www.mwrta.com/catch or dial (508) 283-5083.
MassDOT to Hold Public Meetings on Capital Investment Program
As part of the annual Capital Investment Program (CIP) development process, MassDOT is hosting a series of virtual public meetings intended to illustrate how the agency prioritizes and funds local and statewide transportation projects, highlight regional spending efforts, and solicit public feedback on various elements of the plan. The draft FY23-27 CIP incorporates the projected spending of all MassDOT divisions across all available funding sources; the draft reflects the first five-year plan since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The draft CIP incorporates both the draft State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and the MBTA’s Capital Investment Plan, which has already been approved by the MBTA Board of Directors.
The Central Mass. meeting will take place virtually tonight, Thursday May 26th, from 6-8pm. Click here to register for the event.
Information for the following sessions are accessible via the respective links below:
Public comments must be received by Wednesday, June 8th and can be addressed to MASSCIP@STATE.MA.US.
Clean Energy Technology Funding Available:
Mass. Clean Energy Center InnovateMass Program
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's InnovateMass program provides up to $250,000 in grant funding and technical support to applicant teams deploying new clean energy technologies or innovative combinations of existing technologies with a strong potential for commercialization. Successful applicants will propose projects that address important energy challenges, help to grow the state’s clean energy economy, and contribute to Massachusetts’ continued clean energy leadership.
InnovateMass is a rolling program that welcomes applications from across the clean energy technology landscape (including clean energy generation, energy efficiency, energy storage, data for clean energy applications, and other types of technologies).
This program is currently accepting applications; although the program is rolling, it will operate with quarterly deadlines for proposals. The next quarterly deadline is Wednesday, June 1st.
Applicant teams must include at least one Clean Energy Company (as defined here) with proprietary technology to be demonstrated, who will serve as the “Lead Applicant”. The Lead Applicant must meet the definition of a small business, as outlined by the United States Small Business Administration’s “Table of Small Business Size Standards”.
Click here to access complete program and application information.
For Municipalities: Local Bottleneck Reduction Program
The Local Bottleneck Reduction Program, administered by MassDOT, is currently accepting applications for its FY23 round. The program seeks to fund innovative solutions to address congestion bottlenecks on local roadways to improve traffic flow. Project locations are proposed by municipalities and considered by MassDOT for funding through a competitive application process. Every municipality in the Commonwealth is eligible for this program. Selection is based primarily on bottleneck related congestion and delay metrics. Project design for selected applicants is performed by MassDOT-led consultants funded through the program. Project implementation is conducted entirely by the municipality. For FY23, more project types have been made eligible for funding than in past rounds.
A single application may propose improvements at one or multiple intersections in the same corridor or impact area. Roadways and intersections owned and operated entirely by a municipality may be considered. Applications may only be submitted by municipal officials. A municipality may submit up to two applications in a grant round, however, a municipality may only receive one award per fiscal year.
The maximum funding to be provided to a municipality in a single fiscal year is $500,000. However, the maximum award is not guaranteed and will vary based on the scope of work determined necessary to improve the bottleneck location. Municipalities are responsible for any additional costs beyond the awarded amount. Design costs do not count against the funding limit.
Eligible project types include:
- Signal equipment improvements such as:
- Coordination of multiple traffic signals
- Pedestrian or bicyclist signal improvements
- Traffic signal retiming
- Traffic signal controller and cabinet upgrades
- Traffic Signal Priority equipment (with endorsement from transit agency)
- Vehicle detection installation, repairs, or replacement
- Infrastructure/reconstruction projects such as:
- Access management at an intersection to reduce vehicular conflicts
- Auxiliary lanes or acceleration lanes where right-of-way is available
- Changing or adding signage to provide improved directional navigation to motorists
- Curb modifications to modify intersection geometry
- Dedicated bus-only or bus/bike-only lanes where transit/bicycle demand warrants
- Innovative at-grade intersection reconfigurations to improve traffic flow
- New or improved transit stop access
- Pedestrian crossing improvements such as curb extensions or refuge islands
- Restriping of traffic lanes to address poor lane balance including addition of dedicated bicycle lanes
- Turn and/or through lanes where right-of-way is available
Applications are open until June 30th, with award notification time estimated at 1-2 months. Click here to access complete program information. Click here to access application instructions.
House Takes Up Infrastructure Bond Bill
In March, Governor Baker filed “An Act Relative to Massachusetts’s Transportation Resources and Climate” (MassTRAC), a $9.7 billion infrastructure bond bill. The bill, H. 4561, is intended to support investments in transportation and environmental infrastructure, as well as provide required state matching funds to access federal formula and discretionary investments provided by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) enacted in November 2021.
The House Transportation Committee last week produced its version of the bill, which calls for an additional $47 million in spending, including increased support for Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs).
Items included in the House version:
- Federal highway system projects, $2,812,457,157
- State roads and bridges, $1,270,000,000
- State-numbered routes, $85,000,000
- Municipal road/climate change resiliency, $25,000,000
- Complete Streets, $20,000,000
- TMA grants, $25,000,000
- Industrial rail access program, $82,000,000
- RTA capital, $64,900,000
- MBTA modernization, $1,375,000,000
- Aeronautics, $114,100,000
- Multi-modal projects/shared-use paths, $145,000,000
- “Public realm” municipal grant program, $10,000,000
- Discretionary fed grant projects, $3,500,000,000
- Mobility Assistance Program, $25,501,000
- Emission reduction program, (EEA) $200,000,000
Additional highlights of the committee redraft:
- Increased funding for RTAs and new funding for transportation management associations totaling $46,500,000
- Provisions mandating annual expenditures on MassDOT’s Industrial Rail Access Program
- Procurement reform authorizing a 3-project pilot program that would permit MassDOT to utilize A+B bidding (also known as Cost+Time bidding) that accounts for impacts to congestion and traffic management
- Funds for grants to public and private entities that seek to install electric vehicle fast charging infrastructure
- Language requiring the MBTA to provide adequate alternate parking in the event of renovations or improvements to MBTA garages or lots
- Limited authorization for MassDOT vehicles to utilize “blue lights” in transit to work zones where law enforcement officers are on site
- Revisions to the Dig Safe laws that ensure all underground utilities are properly accounted for at all relevant stages of a project that will require excavation
- In line with federal guidance, a requirement that apprentices be utilized on projects that receive discretionary grant funding under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Click here to access the full text of the redrafted legislation, which must still clear the Senate; any differences between House and Senate versions must be reconciled by a conference committee, before returning to the Governor for his signature or vetoes. 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.
You're Invited: State House Day...in the District!
The 495/MetroWest Partnership cordially invites you to attend our annual State House Day event, live and in-person — however, as the State House is not yet open to outside events, this year we are bringing the region's legislative delegation to you, hosting the event in our service area at Framingham State University!
State House Day...in the District!
Wednesday, June 15th 8:00 AM — 10:00 AM
at Framingham State University's McCarthy Center
100 State Street, Framingham MA 01702
This event is an annual opportunity created by the Partnership for our stakeholders to interact with members of our region’s legislative delegation, hear about their priorities, and ask questions or offer feedback relevant to your business, organization, or community. The program for the morning is as follows:
- 8-8:30 AM: Continental Breakfast, Networking
- 8:30 AM: Keynote Remarks, Senate President Karen Spilka
- 8:50 AM: Special Presentation from Assistant Speaker Kate Hogan on the Interagency PFAS Task Force
- 9:10 AM: Panel Discussion with Members of the 495/MetroWest Legislative Delegation
An RSVP is required to attend this event; click here to RSVP. In completing our RSVP form, you will have the opportunity to suggest a question to be asked during our Legislative Panel Discussion!
Please be sure to submit your response by June 3rd. Guests must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend this event.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.