November 5th Information &
Resources Update
House Ways & Means Committee Releases
FY21 State Budget Proposal

The Ways & Means Committee of the state House of Representatives has released its proposal for a FY21 state budget, which is set to be considered by the full House next week. The approximately $46 billion proposal includes roughly $200 million in additional spending as compared to the Governor's proposal, also known as Revised House 2.

Representatives will debate the proposal, and consider amendments, next week. The Senate is expected to consider a proposal from its Ways & Means Committee within the coming weeks. Following passage of a FY21 budget by each chamber, differences between the two versions will proceed to a Conference Committee for resolution; a final budget will then return to each chamber for an up-or-down vote, after which the bill will proceed to the Governor for his signature. The Governor may veto individual line items, which the Legislature in turn can override.
Boston Region MPO Announces New Round of
Community Connections Grants

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has announced the opening of the application period for Community Connections Program grants. Applications will be accepted until December 11th. Funds will be awarded during the federal fiscal year 2022, which begins on October 1st, 2021.   

Community Connections (CC) is the MPO’s competitive funding program for first and last-mile solutions, community transportation, and other small, nontraditional transportation projects such as those that update transit technology and improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities. In last year’s pilot round of the CC program, the MPO funded projects throughout the region, such as microtransit, bikeshare improvements, transit signal priority, and shuttles.

Eligible applicants include municipalities and regional transit authorities (RTA) in the Boston MPO Region. Other entities, such as transportation management associations and or nonprofit organizations, are encouraged to apply in partnership with a municipality or RTA that has agreed to serve as the project proponent and fiscal manager. 

The CC program funds projects in the following categories:
  • Automatic vehicle location
  • Bike-supportive infrastructure (including bikeshare stations and vehicles, bicycle parking and shelters)
  • Bus Lanes
  • Education about transportation options
  • E-Ink Signs for MBTA bus stops
  • Parking management (including parking leases and payment systems)
  • Transit Operations (new bus or shuttle service)
  • Transit signal priority
Projects that add capacity to the roadway network are ineligible.

Click here to access more information about the CC program, as well as application materials. 495/MetroWest Partnership communities in the Boston MPO region are Acton, Ashland, Bellingham, Bolton, Boxborough, Foxborough, Framingham, Franklin, Hopkinton, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Norfolk, Sherborn, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland, and Wrentham.
MOBD to Host Economic Development Incentive Program Webinar

The Mass. Office of Business Development (MOBD) will be holding a webinar to increase awareness of the Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP). This program can be used to help municipalities in their efforts to retain and attract businesses; it aims to encourage growth by offering credits to lower taxes in exchange for job creation.   

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, November 18th, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Click here to register; access information will be provided in a confirmation email post registration.
MBTA to Hold Employer Panel Session Nov. 12th

The MBTA will host the next session of its Employer Panel on Thursday, November 12th, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. The session will focus on the results of the September 2020 Employer Panel Survey. Feedback collected from area employers will be shared regarding updates to current telework policies, plans and timelines for returning teleworking employees to the office, how employers are generally making decisions around returning to the physical workspace, and longer-term perceptions of the workplace as a result of COVID-19.

After the presentation, there will be time for Q&A with MBTA and MassDOT staff about the data. Click here to register for the session.
Mass. Housing Partnership to Host
Regional Session of Statewide Listening Tour

The Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) is a statewide public nonprofit affordable housing organization that works in concert with the Governor and the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to help increase the supply of affordable housing in Massachusetts.

MHP provides direct technical assistance to communities across the state. MHP is reviewing its work from an equity lens; its Community Assistance team is scheduling a virtual listening tour focusing on four regions this Fall, to be followed by additional sessions in the Spring. The purpose of the virtual tour is to help MHP understand housing issues in each region, gaps in existing technical assistance, and how MHP might help to make access to affordable and safe housing more equitable.

Two regions overlapping the 495/MetroWest Partnership's service area will be included in the Fall series:

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

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership