Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Unified Planning Work Program Committee Meeting Summary

March 26, 2020 Meeting

9:00 AM–9:45 AM, Zoom Videoconferencing Platform

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


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Committee agreed to the following:


Materials for this meeting included the following:

1.    Meeting Summary for the February 27, 2020, UPWP Committee meeting

2.    Meeting Summary for the March 5, 2020, UPWP Committee meeting

3.    Text of Amendment One to the FFY 2020 UPWP

Meeting Agenda and Summary of Discussion

1.    Introductions

B. Muller welcomed committee members, read the accessibility statement, and called the roll.

2.    Public Comments

There were none.

3.    Meeting Summary of February 27, 2020 meeting—Approval of this summary

A motion to approve the summary was made by Eric Bourassa (Metropolitan Area Planning Council [MAPC]) and seconded by Steve Olanoff (Town of Westwood/Three Rivers Interlocal Council subregion alternate). The motion carried unanimously.

4.    Meeting Summary of March 5, 2020 meeting—Approval of this summary

A motion to approve the summary was made by S. Olanoff and seconded by Daniel Amstutz (Town of Arlington/At-Large Town). The motion carried unanimously.

5.    Amendment One to Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020 UPWP—Tegin Teich, Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) Executive Director

T. Teich explained the amendment to the FFY 2020 UPWP. The intent of the amendment is to fund the CTPS strategic planning effort, which sets the groundwork for the MPO Operations Plan, as recommended in the 2019 federal certification review. The amount of funding in the amendment is $120,000, funded by extended FFY 2019 FTA Section 5303 funds. The MPO had not fully expended these funds, so they remained available. The strategic plan is intended to be a six- to nine-month process. The plan is intended to focus on CTPS’ organizational health, as well as working with external stakeholders, and secure CTPS in its primary role as staff to the MPO. As part of the plan process, CTPS will establish a steering committee. The MPO Operations Plan, assessing roles and responsibilities, will follow on the CTPS Strategic Plan.

Brian Kane (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority [MBTA] Advisory Board) asked about his perception that CTPS’ overhead rate is quite high, and wondered if the Strategic Plan would look at that. T. Teich responded that, in fact, CTPS’ overhead rate is lower than any consulting firm, and indeed lower than that of CTPS’ fiduciary agency, MAPC. When she worked in consulting, their overhead rate was closer to 150 percent, compared to CTPS’ 105 percent. E. Bourassa weighed in that MAPC’s rate is 121 percent, and reminded attendees that overhead includes everything that an organization needs, including benefits and rent. There was additional discussion, and T. Teich noted that regardless of overhead being high or low, reviewing the overhead rate is an important part of the strategic plan. B. Muller added that the CTPS overhead rate is one of the lowest among MPO staff in the Commonwealth.

T. Kadzis asked about the intention detailed in the text of the amendment to hire consultants to help carry out the plan. T. Teich responded that CTPS is seeking a firm with external perspective and expertise in internal development and planning. The state maintains a list of qualified vendors with this type of expertise. Len Diggins (Regional Transportation Advisory Council [Advisory Council]) asked if the Advisory Council is a federally mandated entity; T. Teich and Matt Archer (Advisory Council Manager) responded affirmatively. L. Diggins asked what the Advisory Council’s role in the strategic planning process would be. T. Teich said that while her response is speculative, CTPS staffs the Advisory Council similar to the MPO, and certainly the Advisory Council will be part of the process, and in particular part of the broader outreach process. Tom Bent (City of Somerville/Inner Core Committee) expressed his support for the effort and asked if any strategic planning had been done for CTPS in the past, since there had not been any that he could recall in his 10 years on the MPO. T. Teich said that in the 1990s, CTPS both engaged a consultant to ask staff what they appreciated about the organization and engaged the JFK Center to do a report, although the latter was not nearly as thorough or comprehensive as what is currently proposed. D. Amstutz expressed his support and asked when CTPS expects to start the process. T. Teich answered that CTPS had hoped to have made some progress already; a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) had been due on Friday, March 20, but because of the emergency situation, CTPS delayed the deadline to Friday, May 3. Following the RFQ deadline, CTPS will interview several consultants and select one. The process could possibly begin one to two months after selection.

There was discussion about the need of the UPWP Committee voting on this item. The Committee recommended the MPO vote the amendment out for public comment, without taking a formal vote, in accordance with prior discussions about amendment procedures.

6.    Update on FFY 2021 UPWP Study Selection Process—Sandy Johnston, UPWP Manager

S. Johnston gave an update on the study selection process for the FFY 2021 UPWP. He thanked the committee members and relevant staff for filling out their respective surveys on study concept priority, noting the improved response rate relative to past years. Staff had hoped to pull together materials and select a list of studies at this meeting, but were unable because of the emergency situation. However, staff have continued to analyze survey results, and are proposing a plan to hold the upcoming UPWP Committee meeting on April 2. There is no MPO meeting planned at that time, but one had been scheduled; the UPWP committee could meet in the MPO time slot at 10:00 AM and take its time to develop a list of studiesa process that can take longer than the one-hour time slot allocated to UPWP Committee meetings. S. Olanoff asked if committee members would be able to see survey results in advance, and S. Johnston responded that he would post them before the meeting. T. Bent asked if Somerville’s response to the survey had been counted, since it had been late in responding. S. Johnston replied that Somerville’s responses had been included. L. Diggins asked S. Johnston to block out 90 minutes, and he agreed.

7.    Members Items

There were none.

8.    Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held April 2, 2020, at 10:00 AM, per prior discussion under Item 6.

9.    Adjourn

A motion to adjourn was made by E. Bourassa and seconded by several members. The motion carried unanimously.




and Alternates

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Office of Transportation Planning)

Ben Muller

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Lenard Diggins

At-Large City (City of Newton)

David Koses

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Daniel Amstutz

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Tom Kadzis

Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Erika Jerram

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

Tom O’Rourke

Three Rivers Interlocal Council alternate (Town of Westwood)

Steve Olanoff

City of Framingham (Metrowest Regional Collaborative)



Other Attendees




Jay Monty

MPO Member, City of Everett

Brian Kane

MPO Member, MBTA Advisory Board






MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Tegin Teich, Executive Director

Annette Demchur, Director of Policy and Planning

Hiral Gandhi, Director of Operations and Finance

Sandy Johnston, UPWP Manager

Matt Archer, Advisory Council Manager

Róisín Foley, Administrative and Communications Assistant



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