June 11th Information & Resources Update
State Senate Listening Session on Economic Recovery, Reinvestment, and Workforce Tomorrow Morning

The Massachusetts State Senate will engage in a listening session hosted by Senate President Karen E. Spilka, Senator Eric P. Lesser, Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, and Senator Adam G. Hinds on Massachusetts’ economic recovery, reinvestment and workforce tomorrow, Friday, June 12th beginning at 11AM.

The listening session will be a chance for the Senate to hear from the administration, labor, the business community, and other stakeholders as the body considers the future of the Commonwealth's economy and workforce. This listening session will aim to help inform the Senate’s work on an economic development and jobs bill, with a specific focus what is needed to create jobs and stimulate the state's economy.

Below is the full agenda:

11AM-12PM – Retail and Restaurants
  • Jon Hurst, Massachusetts Retailers Association
  • Bob Luz, Massachusetts Restaurants Association

12PM-1PM – Administration and Reopening Advisory Board
  • Secretary Kennealy, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Secretary Acosta, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

1-2PM – Labor
  • Tim Foley, SEIU 1199
  • Carlos Aramayo, Unite Here
  • Yamila Ruiz, One Fair Wage

2PM-3PM – Business
  • John Regan, Associated Industries of Massachusetts
  • Segun Idowu, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts
  • Jim Rooney, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

3-4PM – Unemployment Insurance
  • Monica Halas, Greater Boston Legal Services

Friday's listening session will be broadcast live on the Legislature's website.
Upcoming Grant Program for Municipalities to Create Shared Streets and Spaces, Assist with Outdoor Dining & Commerce Logistics

MassDOT, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, announced today a new funding program, " Shared Streets & Spaces," to provide technical and funding assistance to help cities and towns conceive, design and execute shared streets and spaces projects and engage residents and businesses in that process. The quick-launch/quick-build grant program will provide grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for municipalities to quickly launch or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility and renewed commerce in their communities. These improvements can be intentionally temporary, in the style of tactical urbanism, or can be pilots of potentially permanent changes to streets and sidewalks.

Types of eligible projects include:

  • Shared Streets and Spaces: supporting increased rates of walking and/or biking by increasing safety and enabling social distancing

  • Outdoor Dining and Commerce: calming roadways, modifying sidewalks and streets, and/or repurposing on- or off-street parking to better support curbside/sidewalk/street retail and dining

  • Better Buses: supporting safer and more reliable bus transit, including expanded bus stops and lanes dedicated for bus travel, (extra scoring credit will be granted for dedicated bus lanes)

  • Safe Routes to School: creating safe routes to schools (and childcare and programs for children and youth), including safer walking and biking networks with lowered vehicle speeds

Shared Streets & Spaces grants will be made expeditiously and on a rolling basis. Once awarded, funding will be made available as simply and quickly as possible so that projects can be built and used this summer and fall. MassDOT has allocated $5 million for this 100-day program. 

Applications will be accepted from June 22 through September 29 and projects must be mostly or completely implemented by October 9. The Partnership will send application access information as soon as it becomes available.

Although projects of all types and sizes are welcome and may be funded, preference will be given to projects that can be operational within 15-30 days of award, projects in designated Environmental Justice areas and projects that show strong potential to be made permanent.

The Shared Streets & Spaces emergency funding program is modeled after the Baker-Polito Administration’s Complete Streets Funding Program, created in February 2016, which, as of January 2020, had awarded a total $46 million to cities and towns for municipal projects improving infrastructure to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation customers. 
MassWorks Infrastructure 2020 Funding Round Now Open

The 2020 Round of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program is now open. The MassWorks Infrastructure Program is a competitive grant program for municipalities, and other eligible public entities, investing in public infrastructure projects. MassWorks is the largest and most flexible source of capital funds the Commonwealth makes available to municipalities. The goal of the program is to provide State support to infrastructure projects that also achieve economic development by accelerating housing production, spurring private development, and creating jobs throughout the Commonwealth.

The deadline for proposals is on August 28, 2020 at 11:59PM. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development will be hosting two informational conference calls to answer questions about the program, one on June 22nd and another on June 29th. Access information for these calls will be posted to the program website closer to those dates.
State Senate Passes $300 Million for Municipal Roadways;
Bill Would Create New MBTA Board

Earlier today the State Senate passed S. 2746, An act financing improvements to municipal roads and bridges. The text of the legislation as passed by the Senate is available here.

The legislation must now be reconciled with House measures passed in March.

Among other provisions, the bill:

  • Authorizes the issuance of $300,000,000 in general obligation bonds for the construction and reconstruction of municipal ways in the Commonwealth.

  • Establishes the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Board of Directors as the entity responsible for governing and exercising the corporate powers of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

  • Provides that the General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority be hired by, report to and serve at the pleasure of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Board of Directors.

  • Requires that a vote by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Board of Directors relative to the employment status of the General Manager be an affirmative vote of not less than 5 members of the Board if the Secretary of Transportation is not in the voting majority.

  • The new MBTA board would consist of 7 members, including of the Secretary of Transportation, serving ex officio; 5 members appointed by the Governor; and 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Advisory Board.

  • Requires that at least 1 member appointed by the Governor be a rider that uses local service or express service of the Authority.

  • Requires that at least 2 board members also be members of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

  • Gives the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Board of Directors all the powers, responsibilities and obligations enumerated to the Authority and allows the Board to delegate any powers, responsibilities and obligations specifically afforded to it to the General Manager unless otherwise prohibited.

  • Establishes a bond term of no more than 30 years for the bonds issued to finance the construction and reconstruction of municipal ways.
Commuting & Work-from-Home Survey

The 495/MetroWest Partnership is partnering with businesses and transportation associations across the Commonwealth to survey employees about their commuting choices as the state reopens. We are asking area employers to please take a few minutes to distribute this online survey to your employees, to enhance this research and ensure that the perspective of the 495/MetroWest region is properly reflected. Your employees’ responses will be analyzed alongside those from employees across the Commonwealth. If enough responses are collected, the survey team may be able to analyze results for our region separately from the statewide results.

The survey is being conducted by The MassINC Polling Group, with support from The Barr Foundation.

Responses are anonymous and will not be used to identify individual survey respondents in any way.

Below is some suggested language for sending the survey to your employees:

Please take a few minutes to fill out this online survey about commuting and working from home as the state reopens from the coronavirus. Your responses will be analyzed alongside those from workers across the Commonwealth, to help us, other businesses, and policymakers understand what reopening means for traffic and public transit. The survey will close on Monday, June 22. Don’t miss your chance to make your voice heard. Thank you!
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. Partnership operations are continuing throughout the duration of the current public health crisis, with our staff working remotely. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected] .

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership