June 3rd Information &
Resource Update
Legislative Summary: Potential Extension of
Pandemic Emergency Measures

On May 17th, Governor Baker announced that the pandemic State of Emergency would be lifted effective June 15th. During the pandemic, various provisions of emergency measures adopted by executive order and special legislation were to remain in effect only during the State of Emergency or for a designated period thereafter. With the State of Emergency set to be lifted, state policymakers are currently evaluating which emergency measures to extend or make permanent, if any.

Governor Baker has filed Bill S. 2452, An Act to Temporarily Extend Certain Measures Adopted in the State of Emergency, which if passed would:

  • Establish that public bodies may conduct deliberations entirely by remote means in a manner consistent with the allowances of the Governor’s Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law dated March 12th, 2020, provided that a public body complies with all of the requirements specified in said Governor’s Order, until September 1st, 2021.

  • Permit a chief executive or local licensing authority of a city or town to extend until November 29th, 2021 or until an earlier date any approval granted to permit or expand outside table service or outdoor alcohol service that has issued under the terms of and through a process adopted in accordance with the Governor’s Order Making Certain Phase III Adjustments, dated September 10th, 2020; and the Governor’s Order Clarifying the Progression of the Commonwealth’s Phased Workplace Re-Opening Plan and Authorizing Certain Re-Opening Preparations at Phase II Workplaces, dated June 1st, 2020. 

  • Continue to prohibit a health care provider from billing for any balance or other amount above the reimbursement paid by a carrier for medically necessary emergency or inpatient services provided to the insured for COVID-19 related treatment, including all professional, diagnostic and laboratory services, until January 1st, 2022.

Click here to access the full text of S. 2452. Separately, Senator William Brownsberger has filed S.27, An Act Relative to Extending COVID-19 Accommodations for Municipalities in Elections and for Representative Town Meetings, which would extend COVID-19 accommodations for municipalities in elections and for representative town meetings to June 30th.

Both pieces of legislation are currently before the Senate Committee on Ways & Means. The 495/MetroWest Partnership recently conducted outreach to our municipalities to solicit input and feedback regarding pandemic-related measures they wish to see extended or made permanent; click here to access the letter of testimony submitted by the 495/MetroWest Partnership to the Senate Committee on Ways & Means regarding S. 2453 and S.27.
Weekend Service to Return to Fitchburg and Franklin
Commuter Rail Lines Effective July 3rd

This summer, the MBTA will be adding back service across the system to support anticipated increased travel in the region. Commuter Rail service changes will be effective on July 3rd, and will include the resumption of weekend service on all lines, including the Fitchburg and Franklin lines.

To share more information about service changes, the MBTA will be holding a public meeting about the Summer 2021 service changes on June 10th at 6:00 PM; click here to register for this virtual public meeting. During the meeting, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input on future service changes.

Traffic Impact on I-90 Between Route 9 and I-495 June 4th-6th

MassDOT is replacing bridges on I-90 east and westbound over Flanders Road in Westborough and Parkerville Road, Cordaville Road, and Woodland Road in Southborough; this replacement of eight bridges (2 spans per local road) will take place over eight weekends between June 18th and August 16th.

MassDOT and its contractor will be conducting a “trial run” between June 4th and 6th to test the I-90 temporary traffic set up for the eight bridge replacement weekends happening this summer. The goal is to make sure the traffic shift and reduction will run as smoothly as possible during the actual bridge replacement weekends.

During the “trial run,” I-90 will be reduced from three to two lanes within the project area. Westbound (WB) traffic will be shifted through a median crossover to the I-90 eastbound (EB) side allowing both directions to travel along the EB side. A concrete median barrier will be placed between the two directions of travel. There will be advance signage in place to alert drivers to the configuration change.

Trial Run Schedule (weather dependent):
  • Friday night, June 4 (beginning at 7:00 PM):
  • I-90 WB traffic will be shifted through the median crossover into two right lanes of what is usually I-90 EB 
  • I-90 EB traffic will be shifted right into two right lanes of I-90 EB  
  • Sunday morning, June 6 (completed at 5:00 AM):
  • I-90 WB traffic will be shifted back to three lanes on I-90 WB 
  • I-90 EB traffic will be shifted back to three lanes on I-90 EB 

As mentioned above, both directions of I-90 will be reduced down from three to two lanes from Route 9 in Framingham to I-495 in Hopkinton which will result in higher than normal congestion. There will be no impacts to local roads below the bridges during the "trial run."

For more information:
Virtual State House Day June 15th
Upcoming & Recent Partnership Events

All Partnership events and committee meetings are being held virtually, via Zoom, at present. Committee meetings are open to all interested persons with advance registration.

Upcoming Events:

  • 495/MetroWest Partnership State House Day: The 495/MetroWest Partnership will host our annual State House Day virtually this year on Tuesday, June 15th from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. This event will feature a keynote address from Senate President Karen Spilka, a roundtable discussion with members of the 495/MetroWest Legislative Delegation, and the unveiling of Strength in Numbers 2021, our annual economic and demographic report highlighting the region’s strengths and advantages. Click here to register for Virtual State House Day.

  • Housing Committee, Submarkets Presentation and Discussion: The Housing Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership invites you to a presentation and discussion with MAPC focused on their Housing Submarkets study, and submarket-specific strategies to create more affordable housing. This event will take place virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, June 9th from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Presenting on behalf of MAPC will be Karina Oliver-Milchman, AICP, Chief of Housing & Neighborhood Development, and Jessie Partridge Guerrero, Research Manager. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A period, as well as a discussion. Click here to register for this event.

Recent Events:

  • Climate Legislation Presentation with Secretary Theoharides: On May 18th, the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted a special presentation from Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides on An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, major climate legislation signed into law earlier this year. Click here to access a recording of this event.
Investor Spotlight: The MWRTA

Throughout the Spring, the 495/MetroWest Partnership is acknowledging our Investors in our Information & Resource Updates. Click here to learn about becoming an Investor!
The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority is a public transportation system located in Framingham, MA. MWRTA’s mission is to further expand public transportation for everyone, by providing outstanding, community-wide, dependable, affordable and convenient public transportation service that enhances mobility, environmental quality, and economic vitality in the MetroWest Region. MWRTA currently operates a Fixed Route system of 15 different routes throughout many of its member communities Monday – Saturday, a robust Demand Response system for elderly and disabled individuals that operates Monday – Sunday, and is also piloting a MicroTransit system within our service region, including identified underserved areas. MWRTA provides free Travel Training to persons interested in learning how to use our services, and offers free Class C CDL Training to individuals hired for driving positions. For more information on MWRTA services or employment opportunities, please visit www.mwrta.com or call (508) 935-2222.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership thanks the MWRTA for their SUPPORTER level investment! Check out our full list of Investors at 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 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.