Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

January 17, 2019, Meeting

10:00 AM–12:00 PM, State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 and 3, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

David Mohler, Chair, representing Stephanie Pollack, Secretary, and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agreed to the following:

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance on page 19.

2.    Public Comments  

Don DiMartino (Director of Public Works, Town of Bellingham) provided an update on TIP project #608887 (Reconstruction of South Main Street [Route 126] - Douglas Drive to Mechanic Street [Route 140] in Bellingham). This project is currently programmed with MPO regional target funds in FFY 2023. A 25 percent design hearing has been scheduled for February 2019, and a consultant has been hired to complete 100 percent design plans. D. DiMartino encouraged the MPO to move the project into an earlier year of the TIP should the opportunity arise.

3.    Chair’s Report—David Mohler, MassDOT

There was none.

4.    Committee Chairs’ Reports—Jay Monty, At-Large City, City of Everett; Chair, Congestion Management Process (CMP) Committee

J. Monty reported that the CMP Committee met immediately prior to this MPO meeting and approved the work plan for FFY 2019. J. Monty also stated that the committee plans to make an effort to identify new members.

5.    Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Tegin Teich, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council

There was none.

6.    Executive Director’s Report—Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff

K. Quackenbush announced that there would be a Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Committee meeting on February 7, 2019, prior to the MPO meeting on that date. K. Quackenbush also stated that staff is organizing an MPO Away meeting on February 21, 2019, in Newton. K. Quackenbush noted that this meeting falls during the week of school vacation, and asked that members confirm they can attend. K. Quackenbush also reported that Jen Rowe, Public Participation Program Manager on MPO staff, would be leaving MPO staff at the end of January. K. Quackenbush and D. Mohler thanked J. Rowe for her contributions to the work of the MPO.

7.    Approval of November 15, 2018, and December 6, 2018, Meeting Minutes—Róisín Foley, MPO Staff

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of November 15, 2018, was made by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (Jim Gillooly) and seconded by the Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville) (Tom Bent). The motion carried.

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of December 6, 2018, was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by the North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly) (Aaron Clausen). The motion carried.

8.    Work Program for Support to the MBTA Better Bus Project—Jonathan Belcher, MPO Staff

Under this work program, MPO staff will provide analytical support to the MBTA’s Better Bus Project. MPO staff will interpret ridership and schedule adherence data and review existing and proposed schedules to develop plans for appropriate service plan actions. MPO staff will also participate in working group and public meetings of the MBTA’s Better Bus Project. This work is expected to take 18 months to complete and cost $50,000.


E. Bourassa asked whether this work program will include an analysis of environmental justice (EJ) impacts from possible changes suggested by the Better Bus Project. J. Belcher replied that this is a separate effort. E. Bourassa asked whether MPO staff were involved in preliminary modeling of possible ridership increases due to the implementation of Better Bus Project recommendations. J. Belcher replied that MPO staff were not involved in that effort but may produce similar data as a result of the public outreach process.


A motion to approve the work program for Support to the MBTA Better Bus Project was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (Paul Regan) and seconded by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (J. Gillooly). The motion carried.

9.    Work Program for Rail Vision Project Support—Scott Peterson, MPO Staff

MassDOT and the MBTA are embarking upon a long-term study to identify current and future needs of the commuter rail system. This effort is called the Commuter Rail Vision study. MassDOT has requested that MPO staff assist the project team with the analysis and development of metrics to support the examination of as many as twelve alternative visions for the commuter rail system. The project team and consultants are currently using a high level sketch planning tool to screen ideas for possible alternatives that could be analyzed at a disaggregate level by the MPO’s travel demand model. These alternatives may reflect differences in station location, right-of-way usage, fare structures, and parking. This project will assist the project team in determining which alternatives should be included in the resulting vision. This work is expected to take 10 months to complete and cost $210,500.


E. Bourassa asked whether MPO staff will scale down their modeling to produce this number of alternatives. S. Peterson replied that MPO staff will produce the traditional level of data, adding that many of the projects expected to be included in an alternative have previously been examined by MPO staff and some of the necessary information already exists in the model. S. Peterson added that each alternative will look at a different combination of projects. In some cases, the modeling will be at a systems level, and in some cases at the station level.

Ken Miller (Federal Highway Administration) asked whether the intent of Rail Vision is to produce recommendations for the commuter rail system. D. Mohler replied that the intent is to come up with recommendations for future service planning. K. Miller asked whether there is a public process. D. Mohler replied that Rail Vision has an advisory committee, which includes elected officials, and public meetings have been held. P. Regan added that the Rail Vision process is not completely fiscally constrained, although alternatives should be buildable.

Dennis Giombetti (MetroWest Regional Collaborative) (City of Framingham) asked whether Rail Vision will incorporate all the disparate efforts taking place concerning commuter rail in the region. D. Mohler replied that there are several different projects happening. For instance, West Station and South Coast Rail are specific projects being pursued by the state, but the function of Rail Vision is to set the overall vision for commuter rail in the region in the long term.

Tracy Corley (MassINC) asked whether the analysis will estimate ridership during non-peak travel hours. S. Peterson replied that the travel demand model focuses on the morning and evening peak periods, but that it also factors in daily ridership during midday and nighttime service hours.

Jim Fitzgerald (City of Boston) (Boston Planning and Development Agency) asked what limitations exist in terms of analyzing boardings and alightings. S. Peterson stated that staff will work with the project team to see what level of detail is necessary. In some instances, it may not be necessary to analyze boardings and alightings at the station level.


A motion to approve the work program for Rail Vision Project Support was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan) and seconded by the MassDOT Highway Division (John Bechard). The motion carried.

10.Amendment Two to the FFYs 2019-23 TIP—Matt Genova, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    FFY 2019-23 Draft TIP Amendment Two Full Table

2.    FFY 2019-23 Draft TIP Amendment Two Simplified Table

Amendment Two includes changes to transit funding in FFY 2019 and highway funding in FFYs 2019–23. Amendment Two does not affect any projects supported by the MPO’s discretionary funds. The changes to transit projects reflect the recent awarding of MassDOT Community Transit Grant Program funds for FFY 2019. This annual program awards Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5310: Enhanced Mobility of Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities funds and State Mobility Assistance Program (MAP) funds to help meet the transportation and mobility needs of seniors and people with disabilities. This year’s grants will fund a range of projects for service providers including the purchase of new vehicles, the modernization of information technology systems, and the provision of additional staffing support for mobility programs.

The changes to highway funding reflect cost increases for two state-prioritized bridge projects. For project #607954 (Bridge Replacement, D03-018, ST 128 over the Waters River in Danvers), there is a cost increase of approximately $3.5 million in FFY 2019. The $9.8 million cost increase to project #604952 (Bridge Replacement, L-18-016=S-05-008, Route 107 over the Saugus River AKA Belden G. Bly Bridge in Lynn and Saugus) is distributed over all five years of the FFYs 2019-23 TIP.


T. Teich asked MassDOT to explain the $9.8 million cost increase for project #604952. J. Bechard explained that as the project reached final design, it was decided that more extensive mechanical work was needed.  

K. Miller clarified that this project is being advertised this year for construction over the next five years. J. Bechard agreed, adding that this is the final estimate and MassDOT does not anticipate any additional cost increases.


A motion to release draft Amendment Two to the FFYs 2019-23 TIP for a 21-day public review period was made by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (J. Gillooly) and seconded by MAPC (E. Bourassa). The motion carried.

11.Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Final Goals and Objectives—Anne McGahan, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Memo: Proposed Changes to Existing Vision, Goals, and Objectives, revised January 10, 2019

2.    Summary of Comments for the MPO’s Revised Vision, Goals, and Objectives

At the MPO meeting on November 15, 2018, A. McGahan presented the Draft Needs Assessment Summary and Recommendations and Proposed Changes to Existing Vision, Goals, and Objectives for the next LRTP, Destination 2040. The changes to the vision, goals, and objectives will ultimately be adopted as part of the final plan in the summer of 2019, but A. McGahan requested board consensus on the content so that it can be used to evaluate projects and programs for the recommended plan.

During the discussion on November 15, 2018, members requested some additional revisions to those initially proposed by staff. Staff incorporated these changes and made the memo available for public review from November 16, 2018, to January 10, 2019. Throughout December, staff solicited feedback via a survey on the Destination 2040 webpage, attendance at outreach meetings, the MPO’s mailing list, Twitter, and blog.

Staff received two written comments regarding the vision, goals, and objectives. The full comments, survey responses, and staff responses are posted on the MPO meeting calendar. The survey received 42 responses to the question “How well does the proposed vision align with your own vision for transportation in the region?” The results indicate an 81 percent approval rating for the vision. The questions “What aspects of the proposed vision, goals, and objectives, if any, require clarification?” and “What changes or additions, if any, would you make to the proposed vision, goals, and objectives?” received 15 responses identifying additional transportation needs and 10 responses specific to the vision, goals, and objectives. The additional needs will be documented in the Needs Assessment. In response to these comments, staff recommended the following additional changes to the vision, goals, and objectives.


Staff edited the proposed vision to achieve greater clarity. The vision was separated into two sentences:

The Boston Region MPO envisions a modern, well-maintained transportation system that supports a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region. To achieve this vision, the transportation system must be safe and resilient; incorporate emerging technologies; and provide equitable access, excellent mobility, and varied transportation options.

Goals and Objectives

Under the Capacity Management and Mobility goal, staff added the phrase “support strategies to better manage” in the Transit/Parking objective to further qualify the MPO’s role of “supporting strategies to better manage parking,” rather than just managing parking.

Under the Economic Vitality goal staff added a reference to “Priority Places” from the MBTA’s Focus 40 plan in response to the written comment from Sarah Hamilton (MASCO). Staff also edited the reference to MAPC’s MetroFuture plan to read the “regional land use plan,” since MAPC is now working on a new plan, MetroCommon.


D. Mohler asked whether board members had any questions or objections to moving forward with these changes and, seeing none, advised A. McGahan that MPO staff had consensus to move forward with these revised vision, goals, and objectives.

12.Formation of Boston Region MPO Transit Committee—Karl Quackenbush, MPO Executive Director, and Michelle Scott, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    MPO Transit Committee: Key Questions and Next Steps

At its November 8, 2018, meeting, the MPO board voted to amend its memorandum of understanding (MOU) to add a seat to the board that would represent a transit committee. The adopted motion specified that the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) would serve as the committee’s representative on the MPO board for an initial three-year term that would begin once an updated MOU is executed. The impetus behind this effort is the need to enhance transit provider representation on the MPO board in order to respond to recommendations made by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) during the MPO’s quadrennial transportation planning certification review in 2014. At that time, USDOT recommended that the MPO work to find a mutually satisfactory way of representing the MWRTA and Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) on the MPO board. Since November 2018, MPO staff has worked to identify key questions related to a transit committee’s functions, membership, and support. (See the questions below.) Staff also solicited feedback from MPO members to advance the formation of this committee.

Using the MPO members’ feedback on these questions, MPO staff will work to develop refined proposals regarding the transit committee’s functions and membership, update any MOU that would be affected by the creation of the transit committee, identify an initial set of committee members, schedule a date for transit committee meetings to begin, and provide staff support for the committee through the MPO’s UPWP.

Topic Area



·         What should be the mission of this transit committee?

·         What would be the responsibilities of the transit committee’s representative on the MPO board?

·         What would be the roles and responsibilities of the transit committee members?


·         What types of entities should be committee members and, of these, which should be permanent members?

·         What should be the minimum number of committee members?

·         What methods or criteria should be used to select committee members?

·         Which entities should be eligible to serve as the committee representative to the MPO board?

·         What restrictions should there be, if any, for transit committee members (excluding the designated representative) to serve on the MPO board or Regional Transportation Advisory Council, and vice versa?

Support and Operations

·         What activities might MPO staff undertake to support the committee, and what costs might be involved?


Staff has proposed the following regarding the committee’s mission, roles and responsibilities, membership and participation, and staff support.

Suggested Mission

The purposes of the Boston Region MPO’s transit committee are to

·         provide a forum for the region’s transit providers to discuss topics of mutual interest and concern; and

·         advise the MPO on matters pertaining to public transit to inform MPO transportation planning and decision-making.

Roles and Responsibilities

Staff’s thinking about the possible relationship between the transit committee, its representative to the MPO board, and the MPO board and staff is informed by current practices of the Advisory Council and subregional representatives. Staff expects that the MPO board would provide information about the planning process and the timing of the MPO’s decisions, and the transit committee representative would use this information to lead the committee’s discussion of issues relevant to the members’ interests as transit providers. The committee would discuss issues of concern and the representative would bring forth the members’ considerations and recommendations to the MPO board for action. The committee may be supported by an annual work plan to promote regular participation by committee members. Possible topics of discussion include transit needs or issues that should be considered during the development of the LRTP, TIP, UPWP, or in the Congestion Management Process (CMP); existing or proposed programs for the LRTP or TIP, particularly the Community Transportation Program; study proposals for the UPWP; proposed transit projects for the LRTP or TIP; transit agency performance measures and targets; and proposed transit-related measures and targets for the MPO’s performance-based planning and programming (PBPP) process.


Staff proposes a model consisting of permanent voting members (MWRTA, CATA, and MassDOT Rail and Transit), other voting members with fixed terms (which could include transportation management associations [TMAs], municipalities that provide transit service, or other regional transit authorities [RTAs] that provide service in the region), and other regular non-voting participants (such as private sector transit providers and advocates) or those who already have representation on the MPO board (such as the MBTA and MBTA Advisory Board) who would attend and participate in discussions. The MPO would work with core transit committee members to select other members, either through targeted recruitment of providers that meet certain criteria, or through a process where providers could express their interest in being members within a defined time period. Once established, the committee could choose to expand its membership over time.

Other membership considerations include whether there should be restrictions on membership, such as for entities already represented on the MPO board. Other considerations include whether there should be requirements for committee size or term lengths.

Staff Support

Staff considered the work it does to support the MPO board and the Advisory Council to identify relevant tasks for supporting the transit committee, including handling meeting logistics, record keeping, agenda development, communications tasks, supporting analysis and information, and elections and membership management. MPO staff estimate that it would require $56,000 to $90,000 a year to support the committee, depending on the number of meetings.


P. Regan stated that the MBTA should be a permanent voting member of the committee. Samantha Silverberg (MBTA) agreed. P. Regan asked whether the recommendation for an initial three-year term has been vetted by CATA.

M. Scott replied that staff has been in conversation with MWRTA staff, who were in attendance at this meeting, and in touch with CATA staff. M. Scott replied that the issue of including the MBTA as a permanent voting member on the transit committee ties into the consideration of whether entities who are already represented on the MPO board should be permanent members of the committee. Staff opted to first suggest entities that do not already have direct representation on the MPO board, namely MWRTA and CATA.

P. Regan stated that the committee would likely function better with the MBTA at the table. S. Silverberg added that the issue ties into the mission of the committee and whether its function is to provide representation where there is none or facilitate coordination. S. Silverberg added that the committee is more likely to see consistent participation from the MBTA if they are a permanent member.

Daniel Amstutz (At-Large Town) (Town of Arlington) echoed these concerns.

D. Giombetti noted that the issue of including the MBTA as a permanent voting member depends on the overall makeup of the transit committee. If there are only three permanent voting members then the MBTA’s influence may be outsized and constitute a second vote on the MPO board. If there are more members, it may not be as big a concern.

T. Teich stated that it would be more meaningful to open membership to all transit providers in the region rather than setting a small number of permanent members.

K. Miller clarified that the primary intent and requirement of the federal recommendation was to provide representation on the MPO board for non-MBTA transit providers in the region. K. Miller expressed concern about the voting power of the representative of the transit committee, asking whether this would be a directed vote representing the interests of the committee or if the representative would be permitted to vote as they see fit. In the case of a directed vote, K. Miller asked whether it makes sense to have MassDOT Rail and Transit as a voting member given its role as a funder for transit providers. He expressed concern that this may lead to self-censorship on the part of transit providers. 

E. Bourassa stated that the committee’s mission should focus on issues of concern in the region, such as first- and last-mile connections to transit and the Community Transportation Program. E. Bourassa added that including TMAs and municipalities that provide transit service makes sense, and he warned against overly limiting membership. 

M. Scott noted that MPO staff originally conducted outreach to transit providers in the region in 2017 to gauge their interest in participation on a committee, and staff could pursue another outreach effort now that the formation of a committee is more likely. This could be done in the form of an open call or a more targeted recruitment of providers with significant ridership in the region.

T. Teich stated that the initial framework of the transit committee will strongly influence whether providers are responsive and want to participate. T. Teich agreed with E. Bourassa that the membership should not be too exclusive, which will necessitate some thinking about overlap with Advisory Council membership.

E. Bourassa stated that in order to reduce strain on other MPO resources, the committee should not meet monthly but rather quarterly or only in preparation for voting on documents like the TIP.

J. Gillooly expressed concern about the length of the initial three-year term for the chair and suggested that the committee take an annual vote to select a representative.

T. Teich agreed with E. Bourassa that the group should meet quarterly. She added that some of the groups that could be eligible to participate in the transit committee already attend the Advisory Council. She expressed the hope that if they want to continue participating in both bodies they could do so, provided they are not voting members of both. 

Steve Olanoff (Three Rivers Interlocal Council alternate) noted that there has been an understanding that Advisory Council members who have representation on the MPO board should not also vote at the Advisory Council, and he asked whether the transit committee would also follow this rule. S. Olanoff added that the Advisory Council has members from advocacy groups, and he asked whether they could be voting members on the transit committee.

D. Mohler replied that the answers to these questions depend on whether the vote of the transit committee representative is directed by the committee or not. D. Mohler redirected the conversation back to the issue of the mission of the committee, asking what the MWRTA representative’s responsibility will be once the representative is seated at the MPO table.

K. Miller stated that the intent of the federal recommendation was to provide representation for transit providers.

D. Mohler clarified that the recommendation was to provide representation for the two RTAs in the region who do not sit on any MPO board, MWRTA and CATA. K. Miller responded that the regulations state “transit providers,” but do not define “transit providers,” specifically. At a minimum, K. Miller added, the MPO’s federal partners would like representation for the two RTAs. D. Mohler responded that the recommendation did not ask the MPO to provide seats for both RTAs, but only to provide representation for the RTAs in some capacity. K. Miller responded that the recommendation was to provide representation for transit providers. D. Mohler responded that the MBTA is a transit provider and is represented on the board, so the recommendation must be more specific. K. Miller replied that the MPO could have chosen to give both MWRTA and CATA a seat, but chose to form a transit committee instead.

E. Bourassa stated his understanding that the transit committee representative would be representing the interests of the whole committee.

D. Mohler replied that this would not necessarily be so simple to achieve given that the committee would likely not discuss the prioritization of highway projects in the TIP, but that the committee representative would still be voting on these issues at the MPO table. In that situation, it is likely the representative (MWRTA) would simply vote according to his or her own views. D. Mohler added that his understanding, based on his earlier dialogue with K. Miller, is that the MPO’s federal partners expect that the representative will always be a transit provider and, possibly, that it will always be either MWRTA or CATA.

K. Miller did not provide a specific response, noting that the FTA had no representative at this meeting.

K. Quackenbush read the verbatim recommendation of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and FTA in order to clarify its contents: “The MPO should work with the MetroWest and Cape Ann Regional Transit Authorities to ensure that these providers of public transportation are represented on the MPO board in a way that is satisfactory to all parties and satisfies the MAP-21 requirements for transit representation on MPO boards. The particular form of this should be determined cooperatively by all interested parties, possible examples include full or fractional representation for each RTA, a single seat that rotates, etc.” K. Quackenbush stated that the recommendation specifically refers to these two RTAs, MWRTA and CATA, that are not represented on any MPO board, as are all other RTAs in the state.

Tom O’Rourke (Three Rivers Interlocal Council) (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce) stated that, given the recommendation, it should be a requirement of the committee that the representative be one of the two RTAs.

S. Silverberg suggested, given that one of the two RTAs will always be the representative, that it might not be necessary to have a committee. J. Gillooly agreed.

D. Giombetti also agreed, stating that the simplest way would be to choose one of the two RTAs and provide them with a seat on the board, and adding that transit providers would communicate with one another via other forums.

E. Bourassa stated that simply providing seats for MWRTA and CATA in effect creates an unfair balance of representation for the MetroWest Regional Collaborative and the North Shore Task Force subregions on the MPO board, given that the RTA representative is likely to support projects in his or her subregion. The committee structure would make the representative more beholden to the perspectives of others. Unlike other MPOs in the state, where the RTA with representation on the board represents a service area that encompasses the entire MPO region, MWRTA and CATA only provide service in one particular area of the whole MPO region.

T. Teich stated that her thoughts are similar and noted that representing a broad group of stakeholders on the MPO board is challenging but important. There is a large diversity of providers in the region, and having the committee would allow for targeted conversations about transit issues.

D. Giombetti suggested forming a subcommittee to come up with answers to some of these specific questions and to make a recommendation that the board could then amend. T. Teich agreed that this would reduce the cyclical nature of the discussions.

K. Miller stressed that MWRTA and CATA should be consulted by any subcommittee.

Tom Bent (Inner Core Committee) (City of Somerville) stated his belief that the RTAs already have opportunities for representation as part of the Advisory Council and via the subregional representatives. He added that the MPO does not take up that many votes that address the RTAs’ individual needs in any given year.  

D. Mohler stated that the MPO has already voted to amend its MOU to add a transit committee seat, which would be filled by the MWRTA for an initial three-year term. Unless the MPO was to take a new vote, that decision stands. The MPO could add two seats, one for MWRTA and one for CATA, and effectively give the MetroWest Regional Collaborative and North Shore Task Force subregions two votes, as the City of Boston has currently. D. Mohler added that the creation of a subcommittee does not seem like an effective choice.

Aaron Clausen (North Shore Task Force) (City of Beverly) acknowledged that CATA has not been particularly responsive on this issue, and he stated that he would attempt to coordinate better with the CATA staff. A. Clausen expressed support for a transit committee with the three permanent members suggested by staff. A. Clausen did not see the need for a subcommittee.

D. Amstutz agreed, adding that it would be incumbent upon the representative to communicate the committee’s views to the wider MPO board, but the representative should be able to make his or her own decisions irrespective of the committee. D. Amstutz also did not see a need for a subcommittee.

J. Monty expressed support for a transit committee, adding that TMAs should be included, either as voting or non-voting members.

M. Scott asked board members to suggest other materials that staff could bring that would help guide the discussion.

T. Teich suggested submitting the key questions to MPO members after the meeting, in the form of a survey or otherwise, because of the difficulty of conducting detailed conversations around open-ended questions at the MPO table. Staff could compile responses this way and bring back the results to a future meeting. S. Silverberg agreed.

J. Gillooly asked whether, given the relatively small amount of service MWRTA and CATA provide compared to the MBTA, the MBTA should be provided with additional votes. This might make representation more proportional.

P. Regan stated that, from a proportionality perspective, if the issue was providing representation for the second largest transit provider in the region then the MPO would provide the 128 Business Council with a seat. The issue is more about the representation of regional needs, he said, because MWRTA and CATA do not move large numbers of riders. P. Regan stated that he did not see why the RTA representative could not act as chair of a committee and report the committee’s concerns to the MPO board.

D. Mohler remarked that before this meeting, the sense seemed to be that the seat being established was for the transit committee representative, which would not necessarily always be MWRTA or CATA. However, given the discussion with K. Miller today, it now seems that the seat would always be held by MWRTA or CATA. D. Mohler stated that the board took a vote to establish a committee but given the recent discussion, a committee may not be useful.

S. Silverberg agreed that there is still value in creating a forum for coordination, but if the transit committee representative is always going to be an RTA representative and vote according to his or her views, this option does not seem to be a committee in the traditional sense.

K. Quackenbush asked how providing seats for MWRTA and CATA creates additional representation for their respective subregions in a way that is more objectionable than the at-large representatives, who also represent municipalities in subregions that already have subregional representatives. At any given time, several subregions already have more than one representative on the MPO board.

E. Bourassa replied that there is a difference, and that the understanding when at-large representatives are elected is that they will represent regional interests and not just those of their municipality. E. Bourassa reiterated his feeling that without the commitment to regional thinking the risk is that the seats will functionally be additional subregional seats.

D. Giombetti assured the board that the MetroWest Regional Collaborative subregion is not attempting to take control of the MPO board, adding that in his recollection the MPO rarely has votes so contentious that they are decided by a single vote, which means that the outsized influence of one subregion is not likely to materialize. D. Giombetti added that there may even be a difference of opinion between the RTA representative and himself. D. Mohler replied that this is unlikely.

E. Bourassa noted that the definition of representation is not necessarily a seat at the MPO table. An entity could be represented by being a member of a committee.

K. Miller asked K. Quackenbush to read the federal recommendation again. He stated that whatever the form of representation for MWRTA and CATA, it must be “satisfactory to all parties,” but that FHWA and FTA are not mandating what option to choose.

D. Mohler stated that it would have been much more efficient for FHWA and FTA to mandate what form the representation should take, adding that in his opinion the only MPO member that should be concerned about the dilution of voting power is the City of Boston, given that the City advocated to attain two seats as the largest community in the region and is now facing the possibility of the MetroWest Regional Collaborative and North Shore Task Force subregions having three.

K. Miller reiterated that FHWA and FTA are not opposed to any particular solution.

E. Bourassa asked for a show of hands for members who would support a committee with a structure where members choose the representative to the MPO.

T. Bent asked whether the MBTA would be included in the committee. E. Bourassa replied that the MBTA would be included but would not be eligible to be the chair. T. Bent asked whether the MBTA would be a voting member.

D. Mohler replied that if the MBTA is not a voting member, the MBTA representative’s attendance is likely not guaranteed. He also noted that the MBTA is not interested in another seat on the MPO board. T. Bent stated that regardless the MBTA should be a voting member.

D. Mohler clarified that E. Bourassa was trying to address the issue of whether the transit committee representative could be the chair of the committee as voted by the committee, regardless of the entity, or whether the chair would always be MWRTA or CATA.

J. Gillooly asked whether the RTAs could be confined to voting on issues that are concerned with transit, if they are truly only interested in influencing this aspect of the MPO’s work. D. Mohler responded that whether the MWRTA sits on the board or not, this RTA receives federally allocated funds and the MPO has not traditionally changed or objected to the RTAs’ proposed programs. D. Mohler stated that his understanding is that the RTAs’ concern is about the opportunity to access MPO target funding for projects. If the RTAs’ vote is confined to transit issues, the MPO would have to figure out what that means when the time comes to decide whether to flex highway funding to transit in order to support an RTA project. D. Giombetti agreed that partial membership that allows the RTAs to vote on certain topics does not make sense.

D. Mohler stated that the sense on the board seems to be that this recommendation is an effort to solve a problem that does not exist, given that there has not traditionally been anything the MPO has the power to provide the RTAs that it has not provided to them. D. Mohler added that progress must be made and unless a member makes a new motion that nullifies the earlier vote, a transit committee must be formed and MWRTA must be seated at the table. Additionally, members must be preparing their signatories to sign a revised MOU. K. Miller agreed.

S. Silverberg asked M. Scott what actions staff need from the board. M. Scott replied that the purpose of this discussion was to get feedback on the key questions, and staff has started drafting language for the amended MOU. M. Scott added that staff can provide members with a survey to further refine the feedback it needs to bring more constrained recommendations. M. Scott added that, based on this conversation, staff should have what they need to propose revisions to the MOU.

J. Gillooly observed that it appeared that the decision would result in seating one of the RTAs as the transit committee representative. E. Bourassa disagreed.

K. Miller reiterated that the decision about representation must only be “satisfactory to all parties.” D. Mohler replied that it seems unlikely MWRTA and CATA would agree to any form of representation other than a seat on the board.

J. Gillooly stated that, after more conversation with MWRTA and CATA, the MPO should take a vote to appoint a transit committee representative. The MPO should reserve the right to approve membership of the transit committee and include language in the MOU specifying the obligation of the representative to run the transit committee and represent its interests.

D. Mohler asked M. Scott and staff to create draft MOU language and a written recommendation about the structure of the transit committee, provide it to members for feedback, and bring it to a future meeting in order to move this issue forward. D. Mohler asked staff to leave as little up for debate as possible.

P. Regan noted that traditionally the chair of the MPO appoints members to MPO committees and suggested that the transit committee follow this structure.

D. Mohler stated that the transit committee will likely function similarly to the Advisory Council, with an MOU that establishes membership and how to attain membership. The representative will represent the concerns of the committee to the extent possible but may vote according to their own conscience.

D. Giombetti asked MPO staff to provide members with a deadline for answering the questionnaire.

13.Members Items

D. Mohler announced that this would be J. Gillooly’s last MPO meeting, as he is retiring from the Boston Transportation Department. J. Gillooly recalled his participation on the committee that negotiated the MPO’s expansion from the original six members. J. Gillooly commended MPO staff for their work and thanked the MPO board members for their collegiality and support throughout the years.


A motion to adjourn was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan). The motion carried.




and Alternates

At-Large City (City of Everett)

Jay Monty

At-Large City (City of Newton)

David Koses

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Daniel Amstutz

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Jim Gillooly

Federal Highway Administration

Ken Miller

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

David Mohler

MassDOT Highway Division

John Bechard

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Samantha Silverberg

Massachusetts Port Authority

MBTA Advisory Board

Paul Regan

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Dennis Giombetti

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Bedford)

David Manugian

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Aaron Clausen

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

AnaCristina Fragoso

Tegin Teich

South Shore Coalition (Town of Braintree)

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce)

Tom O’Rourke



Other Attendees


Frank Tramonotozzi

City of Quincy

Don DiMartino

Bellingham Department of Public Works

Jeff Maxtutis

Beta Group

Steve Olanoff

TRIC Alternate

Maxwell Huber


Sara Scully


Ed Carr


Tracy Corley


Beth Isler


Tom Kadzis

Boston Transportation Department

Derek Shooster



MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director

Robin Mannion

Jonathan Belcher

Annette Demchur

Róisín Foley

Matt Genova

Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman

Anne McGahan

Scott Peterson

Jen Rowe

Michelle Scott

Katie Pincus Stetner