Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

April 25, 2019 Meeting

10:00 AM–1:00 PM, State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 and 3, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

Steve Woelfel, 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:

·         Endorse the Performance-Based Planning and Programming (PBPP) Agreement

·         Approve an amendment to the MPO’s Public Participation Plan (PPP)

·         Release Amendment Three to the federal fiscal years (FFY) 2019–23 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for a 21-day public review period

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance beginning page 19.

2.    Public Comments  

James Kupfer (Planner, Town of Bellingham), State Representative Michael Soter, State Senator Ryan Fattman, and Jeffrey Curley (WS Development) advocated for and thanked the MPO for its support of (TIP) project #608887 (Reconstruction of South Main Street [Route 126]—Douglas Drive to Mechanic Street [Route 140] in Bellingham). This project was programmed with MPO regional target funds in FFY 2023 and has been recommended to move into FFY 2022 in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. J. Kupfer also advocated for the inclusion of project #604862 (Ramp Construction and Relocation, I-495 at Route 126 [Hartford Avenue] in Bellingham) in the MPO’s next Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Destination 2040. State Representative Soter stated that the Town of Bellingham has been advocating for this project since 2002, adding that the project would address a bridge that was converted from one travel lane in each direction to four lanes. Representative Soter stated that the communities of Bellingham, Medway, Hopedale, Milford, Mendon, Blackstone, and Millville use this interchange as a gateway to their communities, and stressed the public safety concerns that the project would address. Representative Soter stated that the corridor is a high-crash location, adding that Bellingham’s consultant, WS Development, is close to finalizing designs, and urged the MPO to include this project in the LRTP. Representative Soter also thanked the MPO for moving project #608887 up one year. Senator Fattman stated that there is unanimous support for project #604862 among the legislative delegation from Bellingham. Senator Fattman added that this project is important for safety and economic development in the region.

Susanne Rasmussen (Director of Environmental and Transportation Planning, City of Cambridge) advocated for MPO investment in public transit, particularly the inclusion of funding programs for transit, dedicated bus lanes, and climate resiliency under the Complete Streets funding program of the MPO’s LRTP. S. Rasmussen stated that, as opposed to the historic approach of investing in highway capacity, including a transit modernization program in Destination 2040 would strongly emphasize the MPO’s ability to flex funds to transit projects and highlight an important way to mitigate the congestion and safety issues in the region. S. Rasmussen noted recent surveys that highlight the congestion in the region, and urged the MPO to prioritize transit as a way to address congestion, safety, and economic development. S. Rasmussen also noted the inclusion of MassDOT bridge projects in the LRTP Universe of Projects, and asked that if bridge projects are to be included, the River and Western Avenue bridge projects that span the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston be included. S. Rasmussen stated that both bridges were originally included in MassDOT’s Accelerated Bridge Program but were removed in 2014. S. Rasmussen stated that both bridges are important links for bicycle, pedestrian, and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) bus connections. S. Rasmussen also advocated for three projects recently added to the LRTP Universe of Projects: Alewife Bicycle/Pedestrian/Transit Connection to Potential Future Commuter Rail Station; Commuter Rail Transit Station at Alewife; and Grand Junction Passenger Transit. S. Rasmussen stated that the second two projects could be combined, and represent Cambridge’s long-term vision for frequent service connecting the future West Station with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kendall Square, and North Station. S. Rasmussen stated that while these two transit projects were not included in the MBTA’s long-range plan, Focus40, they are being considered for MassDOT’s strategic plan for the Commuter Rail, RailVision, and should be kept in the Universe. S. Rasmussen also commended the MPO for its willingness to flex surplus funding available in FFY 2021 of the TIP to the MBTA.

Charles Aspinwall (Town Administrator, Town of Canton) advocated for the inclusion of project #87790 (Interchange Improvements at I-95/I-93/University Avenue/I-95 Widening in Canton) in Destination 2040. C. Aspinwall stated that there are economic development, environmental, and safety issues that would be addressed by this project, adding that the Canton Fire Department has had 150 responses to the location in the last 15 months, including a fatality.

State Senator Brendan Crighton (Third Essex District, City of Lynn), advocated for funding water transportation from Lynn to Boston via highway mitigation funds from the ongoing Tobin Bridge project. Senator Crighton also submitted a written comment letter, which is posted to the MPO meeting calendar. Senator Crighton stated that the Tobin Bridge project has significantly reduced access to Boston from the North Shore, stating that Lynn already has a state-funded ferry terminal that was operational for two years and represents a short-term solution for taking cars off the road and mitigate some of the disruption from the Tobin Bridge project. Senator Crighton stated that while he will continue to advocate for extending the MBTA Blue Line to Lynn and the expansion of rapid transit, he would be asking for immediate relief for an immediate problem.

Aaron Clausen (North Shore Task Force) (City of Beverly), Mayor Michael Cahill (City of Beverly), and Michael Collins (Commissioner of Public Services, City of Beverly) advocated for the inclusion of project #607727 (Interchange Reconstruction at Route 128/Exit 19 at Brimbal Avenue [Phase II] in Beverly) in Destination 2040. A. Clausen stated that the City of Beverly has been working on this project since 1997. A. Clausen presented slides depicting images of the project area. The slides are posted to the MPO meeting calendar. A. Clausen stated that Exit 19 is one of the more congested exists traveling north on Route 128 towards Gloucester. This project would upgrade the interchange by replacing several existing ramps and constructing a new overpass to better connect existing land uses in the City with parcels available for development. A. Clausen stated that the project would improve safety, air quality, congestion, and economic development issues in the region. The project would provide better access to the North Shore Music Theatre, which A. Clausen stated is an important part of the region’s cultural economy. In 2016, Phase 1 of the project was completed via a grant from MassWorks. Phase 1 constructed several new roundabouts, signalized intersections, and lane striping. A. Clausen stated that the existing off ramps are inadequate and do not meet current standards for acceleration/deceleration lengths and sight lines. A. Clausen stated that this interchange ranks in the worst 20 of interchanges in the state for safety. A. Clausen stated that the area around the project location includes 150 acres of developable land, and the area has already experienced significant growth following the completion of Phase 1. A. Clausen stated that the project location has been listed as a priority for Beverly in its strategic plan. The project would add sidewalks and bike lanes to accommodate multimodal transportation. A. Clausen stated that Beverly is requiring that all developers in the area include Transportation Demand Management solutions in their agreements with the City.

Mayor Cahill thanked the MPO for its support and stated that the project area is the key remaining economic development area in the City of Beverly, noting that the surrounding areas are residential and that creating jobs requires better highway access.

3.    Chair’s Report—Steve Woelfel, MassDOT

There was none.

4.    Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

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

T. Teich provided a comment about LRTP projects that add highway capacity. T. Teich stated that Advisory Council members express concern about safety, but acknowledge that the MPO has other goals and there are multiple ways to address safety. T. Teich stated that when projects address safety concerns by adding capacity for single-occupancy vehicles, the MPO should consider whether the proposed solutions are relevant to the MPO’s goals for the region.

6.    Executive Director’s Report—Scott Peterson, Co-Interim Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff

S. Peterson reported that the MPO staff is conducting outreach to transit providers regarding the formation of an MPO Transit Committee to address federal recommendations that the MPO add representation for transit providers. An outreach meeting is planned for the first week in June and staff will return to the MPO with a presentation at the meeting on June 20, 2019.

S. Peterson added that MPO members interested in participating in the upcoming peer exchange with Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization on June 5, 2019, and June 6, 2019, should contact staff. S. Woelfel encouraged members to participate.

7.    Performance-Based Planning and Programming Agreement—Bryan Pounds, MassDOT

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1. PBPP Agreement

B. Pounds stated that the PBPP Agreement was initially presented to the MPO in March 2019. This document addresses federal requirements that MPOs and public transit operators enter into agreement with MassDOT regarding coordination on the adoption of federally required performance targets. B. Pounds stated that the document incorporates comments from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the Massachusetts Association of Regional Transit Authorities.


A motion to endorse the PBPP Agreement was made by the MassDOT Highway Division (John Romano) and seconded by At-Large City (City of Everett) (Jay Monty). The motion carried.

8.    Public Participation Plan Amendment—Annette Demchur, Co-Interim Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    PPP Amendment 2019

2.    PPP Amendment 2019: Public Comment Letter from LivableStreets

In February 2019, MPO staff presented an amendment to the MPO’s PPP. The amendment was released for a 45-day public review period. The major impetus for the amendment was to change the public review period for the TIP from 30 to 21 days to better align the TIP with the development of the State TIP (STIP) and Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Additional changes updated outdated information related to public engagement and communications practices. A. Demchur stated that MPO staff plan to do a more comprehensive overhaul of the PPP once a new Public Participation Planner is hired. A. Demchur noted that MPO staff received one public comment letter regarding the amendment, which is posted to the MPO meeting calendar. In the letter, LivableStreets expressed concern about shortening the comment period and offered suggestions for compensating for shortened periods. LivableStreets encouraged the MPO to conduct more direct outreach, simplify materials describing its processes, and develop metrics for tracking the success of outreach efforts.


A motion to approve the PPP amendment was made by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (Tom Kadzis) and seconded by the Advisory Council (T. Teich). The motion carried.

9.    FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment Three—Matt Genova and Michelle Scott, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO website

1.    FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment Three: Full Tables

2.    FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment Three: Simplified Highway Table

3.    FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment Three: Simplified Transit Table

4.    Technical Memorandum RE: Performance Addendum to the FFYs 2019–23 TIP

Amendment Three includes changes to both highway and transit funding in FFYs 2019–23. The changes to highway funding affect projects funded with the MPO’s Regional Target funds as well as projects funded with statewide funds. Changes to Regional Target-funded projects primarily focus on aligning the FFYs 2019–23 TIP with the proposed FFYs 2020–24 TIP, reflecting several cost changes across all years; the reprogramming of projects in different years; and the addition of new projects and programs in FFYs 2021–23. Changes to statewide projects include cost increases, the addition of new funding sources, the reprogramming of projects to different years, and the addition of three new projects.

The changes to transit projects reflect adjustments in funding to MBTA programming since the endorsement of Amendment Two. The changes include adjustments to federal formula funding amounts available each year to reflect actual apportionments, as well as changes to FFY 2019–23 program sizes based on project readiness. The Amendment also reflects the awarding of FHWA flex ferry funds and Federal Railroad Administration funds for the MBTA’s positive train control program.

Other changes include incorporating the MPO’s full set of federally required performance targets so that they are reflected for any FHWA and FTA reviews.


T. Teich asked whether the changes to transit projects reflect an overall change in MBTA funding. Samantha Silverberg (MBTA) stated that there is a slight overall increase in funding to reflect actual apportionments.

Eric Bourassa (Metropolitan Area Planning Council [MAPC]) asked if the Amendment includes Green Line vehicle procurements. S. Silverberg responded that the Amendment includes the first round of the full replacement of Green Line vehicles over a period of 10 years.

T. Teich asked about the timeline for the Longfellow Bridge project. S. Silverberg stated that until design is completed, this project will not have a construction timeline, but the MBTA plans to award the design contract in the coming weeks.


A motion to release Amendment Three to the FFYs 2019–23 TIP for a 21-day public review period was made by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (T. Kadzis) and seconded by North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (Tina Cassidy). The motion carried.

10.FFYs 2020–24 TIP Development—MassDOT Staff and Matt Genova, MPO Staff

1.    Draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP Document

2.    Draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP Programming Decision

3.    Draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP: All Public Comments Received Post-March 28, 2019

4.    Draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP: Presentations

John Bechard (MassDOT Highway Division) presented information on the Sumner Tunnel Comprehensive Rehabilitation project. MassDOT has proposed that the MPO allocate approximately $22 million in MPO target funds that currently remain unprogrammed in FFY 2021 to this project. MassDOT began the design process for this project in 2014 and withdrew it in 2016 to better coordinate construction for other regional projects, particularly the Tobin and North Washington Street Bridges. The initial estimate is $125 million, which could change as design advances.

MassDOT prioritizes repairs and investments based on inspections, evaluations, and critical need. The recent Metropolitan Highway System Triennial Report identified the Sumner Tunnel as one of MassDOT’s top priorities. The tunnel was repaved in 2012 as a temporary measure, but remains structurally inadequate for modern truck loading. Other issues include deterioration of the curb line, concrete gutter, and wall panels, corroded rebar, and damaged light fixtures. The project is a complete renovation of the 1930s tunnel to address poor conditions and meet today’s safety standards.

MassDOT plans to conduct an independent assessment of the previous concept design and advance the final design, cost, and schedule documents throughout 2019–21. MassDOT will also prepare a construction phasing and management plan, and conduct public outreach and stakeholder engagement.

S. Woelfel noted that while the MPO board tentatively proposed to flex these funds to MBTA projects in FFY 2021, MassDOT’s proposal is to allocate them to the Sumner Tunnel. The MPO will still discuss the creation of a transit modernization program in the new LRTP.


Paul Regan (MBTA Advisory Board) asked J. Bechard to clarify that this project will begin following the Tobin Bridge project. J. Bechard agreed that MassDOT’s plan is to complete the Tobin Bridge project before beginning construction on the Sumner Tunnel. P. Regan stated his understanding that tolled facilities are not eligible for federal construction funds. Ken Miller (FHWA) stated that while MassDOT has chosen not to use federal funds on tolled facilities in the past, there is no prohibition on the use of federal funds for the construction of tolled facilities.

P. Regan asked whether MassDOT’s expectation is for the project to be funded entirely by the MPO or just the initial $22 million in FFY 2021. J. Bechard stated that MassDOT is meeting with FHWA on the overall funding eligibility for the TIP and developing a funding plan. J. Bechard stated that MassDOT is taking the opportunity to move the Sumner Tunnel project forward with MPO money, where it might otherwise be competing for state funding with many other projects in the region.

S. Silverberg stated that this is also an important project for the MBTA, because it is hoping to move forward on Blue Line tunnel work that cannot be done at the same time as work on the Sumner Tunnel.

Dennis Giombetti (MetroWest Regional Collaborative) (City of Framingham) stated that the MPO continually hears from municipalities about the need for funds, and asked whether using these funds for a state project is a disservice to municipalities who have been advocating for their projects via the MPO process, sometimes for years. D. Giombetti stated that, given the late date at which this project was introduced into the conversation, his preference would be that this money be used for municipal projects.

J. Monty agreed with D. Giombetti and asked where MassDOT had expected to locate funding for the Sumner Tunnel project if the MPO funds had not become available. J. Bechard stated that MassDOT is constantly assessing its priorities and needs and thinking about when projects can be funded.

T. Teich stated that the Sumner Tunnel project addresses an important need but expressed concern about the use of MPO funds for this project. T. Teich stated that there seems to be a lack of certainty about whether FFY 2021 is the right year, given the lack of a funding plan. T. Teich noted that the MPO does not generally fund municipal projects with that level of uncertainty. T. Teich also expressed concern about using a small amount of MPO funding for larger projects rather than thinking about filling gaps in a more strategic way. T. Teich added that the MPO has still not seen MBTA projects that could use these funds.

J. Bechard stated that MassDOT is always assessing readiness for all of its projects. J. Bechard stated that MassDOT believes that this project is its next regional priority.

T. Teich replied that there seems to be a lot of risk and uncertainty around readiness, and asked again about MBTA projects.

S. Woelfel stated that in the past, when there was an MPO target fund shortfall, MassDOT has stepped in to supplement with statewide funding. S. Woelfel stated that all projects have risks, but this is an opportunity to fund a project that has been on the back burner because of other major projects.

E. Bourassa noted that it is challenging because there are no municipal projects in the pipeline, adding that the MPO needs to be mindful about dedicating too much money to large projects. E. Bourassa expressed concern about access for residents of the North Shore. Michael O’Dowd (MassDOT Highway Division) stated that the original 2016 plans considered shutting down the Sumner Tunnel for four months to complete this work, but that this plan will be reassessed. E. Bourassa noted that the MPO heard from Senator Crighton regarding mitigation funds for ferry service and asked whether consideration has been given to mitigating this work via ferry service or to addressing climate resiliency considerations in the tunnel design. M. O’Dowd stated that climate resiliency and flood considerations will be a part of the design.

S. Silverberg stated that the MBTA has a $3.7 billion federal program with about $1.5 billion of unspent balances, adding that while the MBTA is appreciative of any money the MPO can provide, it is focused in the short term on the set capital plan and is more interested in thinking about MPO funding for the outer years of the LRTP.

Tom O’Rourke (Three Rivers Interlocal Council [TRIC]) (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce) asked whether the expectation is that the MPO will fund the remaining $100 million. S. Woelfel stated that the MPO would not necessarily be responsible for funding the remainder of the project.

Laura Gilmore (Massport) noted that the Sumner Tunnel project is also an important part of Massport’s transit programs and stated that Massport looks forward to coordinating with MassDOT on the project.

J. Romano stated that this project is a regionally significant project with a clear need, and there are no municipal projects ready to capture the funding. J. Romano also echoed S. Woelfel’s comment about the state supplementing MPO funding in the past.

Richard Canale (At-Large Town) (Town of Lexington) clarified the options before the MPO: include the Sumner Tunnel project in the draft TIP; do not include it and have money left in FFY 2021; or do not include it and try to find other municipal projects that could be made ready.

D. Giombetti stated that he felt this would set a bad precedent, adding that the MPO could focus on moving municipal projects in FFY 2022 into 2021, and fund more projects in the outer years of the TIP.

P. Regan noted that in the past, if more money has become available, the MBTA has been able to increase vehicle purchases. S. Silverberg stated that the vehicle purchases in development right now would not be ready for contracts in the FFY 2021 timeframe, but that if there were opportunities to increase procurement she could bring that back to the MPO in the future.

Tom Bent (Inner Core Committee) (City of Somerville) asked at what point the Sumner Tunnel would need to be shut down if the MPO does not fund the reconstruction. J. Bechard replied that while the structure has significant issues, he does not have specific information on timelines for lane restriction or tunnel shutdown. T. Bent stated that this would be helpful for the MPO to know.

Daniel Amstutz (At-Large Town) (Town of Arlington) expressed sympathy for the sentiment that the MPO should support municipal projects, but added that initially the MPO considered using the funds for an MBTA modernization program. D. Amstutz continued that it seems like the MBTA agreed that using the funding for the Sumner Tunnel project aligns with its goals.

S. Woelfel replied that the MBTA is on board to work with the MPO on a transit modernization program for the LRTP, but is happy to support the Sumner Tunnel project in FFYs 2020–24 TIP. D. Amstutz also expressed concern about committing the MPO to more funding in the future.

S. Woelfel stated that this is a unique opportunity to jumpstart this project and allow MassDOT to assemble the rest of the funding from statewide sources.

David Koses (At-Large City) (City of Newton) expressed support for using the MPO’s funds for this project.

J. Monty noted that the MPO has also supplemented funding for MassDOT projects in the past, notably the Green Line Extension, adding that it seems like the struggle that members are having is that no other options have been presented.

S. Woelfel replied that other options have been presented, but this opportunity makes the most sense. S. Woelfel stated that if the MPO does not take advantage of this opportunity, there will be regional impacts because statewide funding will be needed for Sumner Tunnel.

T. Teich acknowledged that the MPO and MassDOT need to work together to meet the needs of the region, but echoed J. Monty’s concerns about the way in which this conversation has progressed. T. Teich stated that the process for using MPO funding should be transparent so that members can make informed decisions. S. Woelfel stated that if the draft TIP list were to go out without the Sumner Tunnel project, MassDOT would need to adjust the STIP list to accommodate the Sumner Tunnel project. T. Teich asked why the lack of MPO funding would have such an impact on the statewide list if MassDOT were already working to advance the project. S. Woelfel stated that MassDOT had been working to advance the Sumner Tunnel project, but other major projects like the Tobin Bridge project took precedence. Since the recent Triennial review, the Sumner Tunnel project has become more of a priority.

J. Bechard stated that the large-scale projects in the region are usually spread out over a number of years, adding that projects like Tobin Bridge and North Washington Street will be ending at an opportunistic time for allocating funding to the Sumner Tunnel project in FFY 2021.

Rick Reed (Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination) (Town of Bedford) asked MassDOT to confirm that it would not seek MPO target funds to finance the remainder of the Sumner Tunnel project. S. Woelfel stated that it is not MassDOT’s intent to use target funding for the entirety of the project.

A. Clausen stated that this project is important, particularly from the North Shore, and expressed support for using MPO funds.

R. Canale agreed that the project should be included in the draft TIP, stating that it will give the public and municipalities time to comment on its inclusion.

T. Teich noted that although the Advisory Council supported the recent shift to a 21-day public review period for the TIP, she expressed concern that the addition of a project of this scale, which the public has not had the opportunity to review in the same depth as other projects in the draft TIP, calls into question the shortening of the periods. T. Teich suggested waiting until the next meeting to allow more time for background information to be provided.

S. Woelfel stated that all the other MPOs in the Commonwealth have released their TIPs, and waiting a week would affect the schedule for the STIP and the CIP.

T. Bent expressed support for including the Sumner Tunnel project in the draft TIP, but stated his disagreement with the way in which the process has been undertaken to add this project and the message it may send to municipalities.

Steve Olanoff (TRIC Alternate) asked when the Sumner Tunnel was last overhauled. J. Bechard stated that the tunnel was repaved in 2012 and periodic maintenance has been performed, but this is the first significant rehabilitation of the Sumner Tunnel.

T. O’Rourke stated that he did not dispute the need for the project, but expressed concern about the possibility that the MPO will end up funding the rest. S. Woelfel stated that MassDOT would need to use statewide funding for this project.

Draft FFYs 2020-24 TIP Document

M. Genova reviewed the draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP document. The current development schedule has the MPO endorsing the final TIP at the meeting on May 30, 2019. M. Genova noted changes to the document this year, including a new portrait layout, chapter transition graphics, expanded table of contents, a simplified Chapter 1, a new Appendix F, new project pages and maps in Chapter 3, and an expanded Chapter 4.

In total, 24 projects were evaluated in FFY 2019. Eleven projects were proposed for funding with Regional Target funds and three proposed for funding with MassDOT funds. Four projects moved into later programming years:

1.    Intersection Improvements in Beverly (2019 to 2020)

2.    Rutherford Avenue in Boston (2020 to 2022)

3.    Lynnfield Street in Lynn (2020 to 2021)

4.    Atlantic Avenue in Hull (2021 to 2022)

Three projects moved into earlier programming years:

1.    South Main Street in Bellingham (2023 to 2022)

2.    Route 2A in Littleton/Ayer (2023 to 2021)

3.    Route 28/Hopkins Street in Reading (2023 to 2021)

Two new projects were directly programmed in early years:

1.    Route 38 in Wilmington (2023)

2.    Edgell Road/Central Street in Framingham (2022)

In FFYs 2022 and 2024, $2,000,000 was allocated to the Community Transportation Program. Specific projects for this program will be determined later. The question of the remaining $22,116,687 in FFY 2021 was addressed by the above conversation.

The primary reasons for not funding projects were readiness concerns, major infrastructure projects that are not currently listed in the LRTP, and projects that are too expensive given the fiscal constraints of existing programming obligations. There were 10 projects evaluated this year that remain unfunded. Information on funding distribution to LRTP investment categories in the FFYs 2020–24 can be seen in the presentation posted to the MPO meeting calendar.


D. Amstutz asked whether the Sumner Tunnel would need to be amended into the current LRTP before being included in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. B. Pounds stated that the FFYs 2020–24 TIP is essentially the first time band of the LRTP, so by proxy it would be included. There was some discussion of whether this is the correct process for adding a project into the LRTP. K. Miller clarified that the MPO should have a reasonable expectation for funding the entire project before it is included in the LRTP, and until there is a funding plan for the entire project, it cannot be included in the LRTP. K. Miller stated that the MPO could not adopt the TIP until the Sumner Tunnel project is amended into the LRTP. S. Woelfel stated that the MPO plans to adopt the TIP and the new LRTP concurrently, and there was some discussion of whether this is sufficient.


A motion to release the draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP document (with the Sumner Tunnel project programmed in FFY 2021) for a 21-day public review period was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan) and seconded by the Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville) (T. Bent). The Advisory Council (T. Teich) abstained. The motion carried.

11.Long-Range Transportation Plan Major Infrastructure Project Updates—Anne McGahan, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Proponent Presentation: Sweetser Circle in Everett

2.    LRTP Universe of Projects, Additional District 4 Projects, Key Descriptions of Projects in the LRTP Universe of Projects: Districts 3, 5, 6, and MassDOT Highway District Map

3.    Presentation: Destination 2040 Projects and Programs

4.    All Written Public Comments Received Post-April 11, 2019

At the meeting on April 11, 2019, A. McGahan presented information on projects in MassDOT Highway District 4 eligible for programming in the next LRTP, Destination 2040. Following the MPO meeting, MPO staff received seven additional public comment letters, all in support of the I-93/I-95 Interchange in Canton. These are posted to the MPO meeting calendar.

At this meeting, A. McGahan completed the list of District 4 projects and began presenting projects in Districts 3, 5, and 6. A. McGahan also presented information on transit projects and began the MPO’s discussion of investment programs and funding goals to include in the plan. In May, MPO staff will present funding goal recommendations for the investment programs and evaluations for the projects discussed on April 11, 2019, and April 25, 2019.

Once approved, the FFYs 2020–24 TIP will become the first five-year time band of the LRTP. In May, the MPO will select the draft set of projects for the last three time bands, after which staff will conduct air quality and transportation equity analyses. The draft plan will be released for public review in June and adopted in July.

Revised project summary sheets for three District 4 projects that were updated following the meeting on April 11, 2019, are posted to the MPO meeting calendar. Several municipalities in District 4 asked to provide comment regarding priority projects at this meeting instead of on April 11, 2019. The City of Beverly’s comments regarding project #607727 (Interchange Reconstruction at Route 128/Exit 19 at Brimbal Avenue [Phase II]) can be seen under agenda item 2.

Sweetser Circle (Route 16 and Route 99) in Everett
J. Monty presented information on the Sweetser Circle project. This presentation is posted to the MPO meeting calendar. This project would reconstruct the intersection of Main Street, Broadway, and Revere Beach Parkway (Route 16) in Everett. The current rotary was constructed in 1956 and experiences severe congestion. The location is an MPO-designated bottleneck and represents a major barrier between Everett neighborhoods and to transit and active transportation modes. The goals of the project are to facilitate Bus Rapid Transit on Route 99, accommodate future Silver Line expansion, connect on-street bicycle facilities to the Northern Strand Trail, reclaim 13 acres of inaccessible green space, connect Lower and Upper Broadway neighborhoods, and improve pedestrian safety and transit access. The rotary serves all major MBTA bus routes running through Everett and is a potential future stop on an extension of Silver Line service. No dedicated transit facilities are possible with the current geometry and Everett lacks access to commuter rail, rapid transit, and direct bus connection to central Boston. A separated bike path was recently constructed along the northwest corner of Sweetser Circle, but no other bike facilities exist within the Circle. Recent and anticipated development at or near the location include the completion of the Encore Boston Harbor Casino and 1,500 new residential units within a one-mile radius. Rezoning efforts have shifted the emphasis on Lower Broadway towards increasing density, commercial development, and walkability. Several bridge reconstructions in the area are ongoing, highlighting that Sweetser Circle is a key piece of Everett infrastructure with potential for large impacts. J. Monty asked that the MPO support the project by programming it in Destination 2040.

A. McGahan presented information on projects in MassDOT Highway District 3 eligible for programming in Destination 2040. This information can be found in the “Key Descriptions of Projects in the LRTP Universe of Projects” handout. A. McGahan first presented those projects that have begun the MassDOT design process or have a stated commitment from a municipality or MassDOT.

Intersection Improvements at Route 126 and CSX Railroad in Framingham
Framingham presented detailed information on this project in December 2018. Eric Johnson (City Engineer, City of Framingham) and Erika Jerram (Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development, City of Framingham) provided additional comment at this meeting. E. Jerram stated that Framingham is still committed to this project. E. Johnson noted that this project is an at-grade crossing that currently creates disruptions in a busy downtown area throughout the day. E. Jerram added that Framingham has committed some money towards reassessing the current design concept.

E. Bourassa stated his feeling that the current design concept for this project, which proposes to put Route 135 under 126 via an underpass, does not actually address the congestion issues at the project location. E. Bourassa also asked about project continuity given recent changes in leadership in Framingham. E. Johnson stated that creating an underpass addresses the issues because it removes one source of traffic that currently has to contend with delays at the rail crossing. E. Jerram stated that the current administration is up to speed on the project and much of the staff in Framingham has been on board since previous design concepts were created, so internal continuity and commitment to the project is present.

Route 27 Bridge Replacement (605313) in Natick
Jamie Errickson stated that, while this is a MassDOT project, Natick is committed to working with the state to complete this project. This bridge is a key interchange on the corridor where project #605034 (Reconstruction of Route 27 [North Main Street] in Natick) is located. Project #605034 is currently programmed with MPO target funds in FFY 2019. For more information on the Route 27 corridor and the importance of the bridge project, see J. Errickson’s comments in the minutes of the meetings of December 20, 2018, March 21, 2019, and March 28, 2019.

Note: At this point, the chair postponed the rest of the Major Infrastructure project updates until the meeting on May 2, 2019.

12.LRTP Investment Programs Update and Discussion—Anne McGahan, MPO Staff

1.    LRTP Universe of Programs, Transit Modernization and Dedicated Bus Lanes Program Recommendations, and Survey Results

2.    Presentation: Destination 2040 Projects and Programs

Along with Major Infrastructure projects, the MPO must select investment programs to include in the plan. The MPO discussed the Universe of Programs at both meetings in February 2019. MPO staff also conducted an online survey soliciting feedback on the Universe of Projects and Programs. MPO staff asked three questions specific to the Universe of Programs. Transit Modernization ranked the highest of the existing and proposed programs, followed by Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements, Complete Streets, and Major Infrastructure. Transit Modernization and Dedicated Bus Lanes ranked the highest among project types. When asked to rank all of the existing and proposed programs and project types, respondents again ranked Transit Modernization and Dedicate Bus Lanes highest, followed by Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements.

Additional feedback from the survey included:

·         The need for equitable distribution of funding through the region

·         More attention to environmental justice populations

·         The need for congestion pricing

·         Implementation of the regional rail vision

Based on the Needs Assessment and public input, MPO staff recommends that the MPO maintain the existing investment programs, which are as follows:

·         Complete Streets

·         Intersection Improvements

·         Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections

·         Community Transportation/Parking/Clean Air and Mobility

·         Major Infrastructure

In addition, staff recommends adding funding to the Complete Streets program for Dedicated Bus Lanes, and adding a new Transit Modernization program. Detailed information on the kinds of projects that would be funded under Dedicated Bus Lanes and Transit Modernization can be found in the handouts posted to the MPO meeting calendar.

Using this information and input from the MPO’s discussions in February, MPO staff recommends including an additional two percent of the MPO’s overall target funds for Dedicated Bus Lane projects under the Complete Streets program. The proposed Transit Modernization Program would include maintenance and modernization projects identified through coordination with MassDOT, the MBTA, and the regional transit authorities.

The current funding goals were established because of scenario planning conducted during the development process for Charting Progress to 2040. Based on the MPO’s discussion, staff will bring new recommended funding goals to the meeting on May 2, 2019.

The MPO’s current policies are that:

·         No more than 50 percent of funding in each five-year time band would be programmed to major infrastructure

·         The MPO will not program a project that requires more than 50 percent of funding in a five-year time band

The MPO did not fund Major Infrastructure in the last 10 years of the current plan because the MBTA’s long-range plan, Focus40, was not yet complete. The MPO should now consider whether it wants to program transit projects in Destination 2040. The MPO should also look at the projects currently programmed in the plan and decide whether it wants to continue funding them. A. McGahan stated that staff would like the MPO to reach consensus on the investment programs it would like to include in Destination 2040.


S. Silverberg stated that the possible project types included in the Transit Modernization handout are consistent with Focus40, adding that if there is interest in other types of projects, MBTA staff can provide more information. In addition to the project types listed here, some of the major expansion projects like the Silver Line Extension and Red/Blue Connector would be captured under the Major Infrastructure program.

E. Bourassa asked whether S. Silverberg could see a situation in which a project would be implemented by another agency. S. Silverberg stated that this has happened in the past; the Silver Line to Chelsea was executed by MassDOT. There are a range of projects that are constructed by developers throughout the system.

E. Bourassa expressed support for adding the new programs and project types. E. Bourassa noted that the Universe of Programs lists a possible “Interchange Modernization Program” under the Major Infrastructure program, which seems to be at odds with the emphasis on transit under the other recommended programs. A. McGahan replied throughout outreach for the Needs Assessment, staff heard that interchange modernization was a need, and the MPO will have to decide if it wants to allocate money for that when it starts deliberating about the kinds of projects it wants to include under the Major Infrastructure program.

A. Clausen asked whether the new Transit Modernization program would replace funding for transit under Major Infrastructure. A. McGahan replied in the negative because projects in the Major Infrastructure category have a specific definition of adding capacity to the system and/or costing more than $20 million. A. McGahan added that FHWA has since indicated that this definition is not necessary, and that the MPO should probably revisit this.

T. Teich echoed E. Bourassa’s comments regarding concern about adding Interchange Modernization under the Major Infrastructure program.

S. Woelfel stated that it seems like the MPO generally agrees on the recommendations for the lower cost programs and MPO staff can move forward with the programs as presented.

13.Development of the MPO’s Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden (DI/DB) Policy—John Gliebe, MPO Staff

This item was postponed to the meeting on May 2, 2019.

14.Members’ Items

K. Miller reported that FHWA and FTA have completed their quadrennial Certification Review of the MPO. FHWA and FTA will submit the final report to MPO staff and MPO staff will share the report with MPO members. At a future MPO meeting, FHWA and FTA will present their recommendations.


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

Richard Canale

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Tom Kadzis

Federal Highway Administration

Ken Miller

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Steve Woelfel

MassDOT Highway Division

John Bechard

John Romano

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Samantha Silverberg

Massachusetts Port Authority

Laura Gilmore

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)

Rick Reed

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Aaron Clausen

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

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


State Representative Michael Soter

Eighth Worcester District, Town of Bellingham

Eric Eisner

Representative Soter’s Office

State Senator Ryan Fattman

Worcester and Norfolk

James Kupfer

Town of Bellingham

Sarah Bradbury

MassDOT Highway District 3

David Fields

Town of Danvers

Jeffrey Curley

WS Development

Susanne Rasmussen

City of Cambridge

Frank Tramontozzi

City of Quincy

Matthew Falkenstein

MBTA Advisory Board

Bryan Pounds


Charles Aspinwall

Town of Canton

State Senator Brendan Crighton

Third Essex District

Constance Raphael

MassDOT Highway District 4

Mayor Michael Cahill

City of Beverly

Mike Collins

City of Beverly

Jamie Errickson

Town of Natick

Julia Wallerce


Paul Nelson

Howard Stein Hudson

Eric Johnson

City of Framingham

Erika Jerram

City of Framingham

Steve Olanoff

TRIC Alternate

Maxwell Huber


Owen MacDonald

Town of Weymouth

Eric Waaramaa


Michael O’Dowd


Jacqueline Goddard


Michelle Ho



MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Annette Demchur, Co-Interim Executive Director

Scott Peterson, Co-Interim Executive Director

Róisín Foley

Hiral Gandhi

Matt Genova

Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman

Anne McGahan

Michelle Scott