September 16th Information &
Resources Update
State Announces Extension of Administrative Tax Relief for Local Businesses

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo yesterday announced an extension of administrative tax relief measures for local businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. 

This includes the extension of the deferral of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes for small businesses due from March 2020 through April 2021, so that they will instead be due in May 2021. Businesses that collected less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the twelve month period ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and businesses that collected less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the twelve month period ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes. For these small businesses, no penalties or interest will accrue during this extension period.

For businesses with meals tax and room occupancy tax obligations that do not otherwise qualify for this relief, late-file and late-pay penalties will be waived during this period. 

The Department of Revenue will issue emergency regulations and a Technical Information Release to implement these administrative relief measures.
Mass. Technology Collaborative COVID-19 Innovation Challenge:
Information Session Today

The Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the organization managing the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (MERT), is currently accepting applications for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Innovation Challenge. The Challenge is the third in a series of innovation pitch competitions to identify and grow innovative solutions to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Companies selected for the Challenge will attend a series of innovation workshops over five weeks, receiving critical mentorship, as well as access to a statewide network of manufacturers and advisors. The program will culminate on October 30th with a virtual pitch event and a $25,000 prize awarded to the winner, funding which will help kick start the commercial development of their products or services.

Applications are due this Friday, September 18th. The Collaborative is hosting an information session about the challenge this afternoon, Wednesday, September 16th from 12:00-12:30. You can register for the informational webinar session online here.

To participate, companies must:
  • Be headquartered in Massachusetts
  • Develop innovations that will preserve or create Massachusetts jobs
  • Have been operating for at least two years
  • Have 2019 annual revenue greater than $250,000

Shared Streets and Spaces Program:
Funding Doubled, Applications Due Sept. 22nd

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Spaces quick-launch/quick-build grant program will provide cities and towns with grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 to improve sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.

These improvements can be intentionally temporary or pilots of potentially permanent changes. Grants will be made expeditiously and on a rolling basis so that projects can be built and used this summer and fall. $5 million had initially been allocated for this program; Gov. Baker announced last week that total funding for the program would be doubled to $10 million. 

Applications are due on September 22nd. Click here to access application information

Proposed projects should advance one or more of the following goals:
  • 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

Although projects of all types and sizes are welcome and will be funded, preference will be given to the following types of projects:
  • Quick Launch/Quick Build: projects that can be operational within 15-30 days of award
  • Equity: projects in designated Environmental Justice areas
  • Pilots for Permanence: projects that show strong potential to be made permanent

Eligible expenses can include, but are not limited to, the purchase of materials, labor, and associated operating costs. Reasonable costs for time spent by municipal staff on a project will be considered sufficient local contribution. Following award of funding, the applicant municipality and MassDOT will work together to define the precise scope of the project.
REMINDER: EPA Stakeholder Session on Potential New Stormwater Requirement for Commercial Properties

In May 2019, EPA Region 1 received a petition from the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) asking that EPA use its residual designation authority to require permits for stormwater discharges that are not otherwise regulated for commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities within the Charles River watershed in order to address phosphorus-driven algae blooms. 

EPA is now formulating a response to the petition. A residual designation could mean that properties including office parks, industrial parks, shopping centers, large-scale residential, private colleges and universities, and hospitals would be subject to new federal Clean Water Act stormwater permits. 

EPA wishes to engage stakeholders to discuss how residual designation would affect commercial real estate. This webinar will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn more and ask critical questions as EPA begins this process.

The webinar will take place tomorrow, Thursday, September 17th, at 9:00 AM. Click here to register.

  • Tamara Small, CEO, NAIOP Massachusetts

EPA Region 1 Speakers:
  • Ken Moraff, Water Director
  • Newton Tedder, Senior Permit Writer
  • Erin Flannery-Keith, Attorney-Advisor

REMINDER: Virtual Town Hall with Senate President Karen Spilka
This Friday
You are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership for a conversation with Senate President Karen E. Spilka, focused on issues relating to municipalities and the business sector in the 495/MetroWest region as they respond to COVID-19.

This event will take place this Friday, September 18th, 2020 at 11:30 AM. Click here to register.

Advance registration is required for this event, as capacity is limited. Questions for the Senate President may be submitted in advance via email to; questions on similar topics will be consolidated due to time limitations.  
Statewide Exit Renumbering Project
Public Information Meeting Set for Sept. 24th

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced an upcoming virtual Public Information Meeting for MassDOT's Statewide Exit Renumbering Project. The Public Information Meeting will take place virtually on Thursday, September 24 from 6:30 p.m., to 7:30 p.m. This project is converting all existing exit numbers on freeways to a milepost-based numbering system, per Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requirements.

The public meeting will cover information about the project, the construction schedule, and the project team will be there to answer questions. The meeting link is available through registration online here.

Construction is scheduled to begin on this project in mid-October of this year and is anticipated to end in the Summer of 2021. 

Additional virtual public meetings will be scheduled throughout the Fall to cover the rest of the impacted corridors. Project updates and corridor-specific construction schedules will be posted regularly on the project's website. To learn more about the project, sign up for updates, or ask the project team questions, please visit
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 this afternoon, Wednesday, September 16th; 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

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership