July 15th Information & Resources Update
MassDOT & MBTA Seeking Participation in Employer Panel

MassDOT and the MBTA are looking to hear from the Greater Boston Business Community about their transportation needs. To that end, an employer group is being established to gather information as the Commonwealth undertakes reopening. MassDOT and the MBTA will periodically survey this Employer Panel to gather ongoing feedback, with a focus on the impacts of COVID-19 on transportation and travel in the Greater Boston region. The feedback this group provides will be used for planning purposes at MassDOT and the MBTA, and findings from surveys will be periodically shared with members of the panel and the public at large.

The link will take respondents to a short intake survey, along with questions about current and upcoming transportation needs. It is estimated that the initial survey will take about ten minutes to complete. The time commitment for panel members would be to take a similar survey no more than once per month.

If there is another representative or official with your business or organization who would be better equipped to speak to transportation needs, you are asked to kindly share this information with them. 
Regional Transit Authorities Seeking Rider & Community Feedback

Our Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) are currently updating their Regional Transit Plans, and seeking feedback from riders and community members within their service areas. Community feedback is essential for successful RTA services.

Please take a moment to complete the appropriate RTA survey for your region below; click the hyperlink over each RTA to access their respective survey.

Complimentary Headshots for Unemployed Residents Being Taken in Natick Next Week

A national effort to provide free headshots to unemployed individuals currently in the job market will include an all-day session in Natick next week. 

Westborough photographer Nicole Connolly will be producing the complimentary headshots on Wednesday, July 22 from 10:00 AM through 7:00 PM at at the Natick Mall. Complimentary headshots are open to anyone currently unemployed; interested participants are asked to visit HeadshotBooker.com for details and schedule a time to be photographed. More than 200 photographers will participate across all 50 states, creating pop-up studios nationwide. Headshots will be provided to participants on site through event photo sharing platform SpotMyPhotos.

The base price for a high quality, professional headshot starts around $250, which equates to more than $2.5 million in collective services these photographers will provide through this initiative.

State Sales Tax Holiday Set for August 29th & 30th

The state's 6.25 percent sales tax will be waived on many purchases the weekend of Saturday, August 29th and Sunday, August 30th. The annual tax holiday allows shoppers to avoid paying the tax on most retail items, excluding food and drink at restaurants, that cost less than $2,500. The 2018 law that made the tax holiday an annual occurrence calls for the Legislature by June 15 to choose a weekend in August to designate as the holiday. If legislators do not act, the Department of Revenue has until July 1 to announce dates for the holiday, as it did this year. 
Eversource Offering Webinar for Small Business Customers

Eversource is offering a webinar for small business customers tomorrow, Thursday July 16th at 4:30 PM, focused on providing information and resources as businesses navigate COVID-19. During this presentation, Eversource will discuss flexible financial plans, the CARES Act stimulus program, energy bill reviews, tips to help your business save on expenses and energy, and enhanced incentives. Click here to register or to learn more.
Design Public Hearing on 495/90 Interchange Improvements Project Published; Comments Now Being Accepted

A Design Public Hearing Webinar has been published on the MassDOT website to present the design for the proposed I-495/I-90 Interchange Improvements project in Hopkinton and Westborough. The hearing is an approximately 25-minute video presentation, available at this link. Comments are being accepted through July 23rd.
The purpose of this hearing webinar is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed I-495/I-90 Interchange Improvements project. All views and comments submitted in response to the webinar will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible.

The proposed project consists of reconstruction of the I-495/I-90 Interchange in Hopkinton and Westborough. Once the project has been completed, the I-495/I-90 interchange will feature new direct connection ramps, grade separated ramps, improved acceleration and deceleration lanes, an auxiliary lane from I-495 Northbound to Route 9, a new Fruit Street Bridge and new I-495 bridge over I-90 and the rail lines.

Written comments and other exhibits regarding the proposed undertaking must be postmarked no later than July 23rd, and can be submitted to:

Patricia A. Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Attention: Highway Division, Project File No.607977

Comments may also be submitted via email to: [email protected].

Biweekly MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series

Area employers are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership and the MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board for our continuing discussions, occurring every other week, surrounding critical issues business are facing. We will answer questions about the various resources that are available to companies and their workers during these difficult times.

These discussions are open to any interested party, and are held every other Wednesday at 1:00 PM via Zoom. The next session will be held on July 22nd; click here to sign up!

  • Jason Palitsch, Executive Director, the 495/Metro West Partnership
  • Greg Bunn, Executive Director, MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected] .

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership