MPO Meeting Minutes

Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

January 7, 2021, Meeting

10:00 AM–11:18 AM, Zoom Video Conferencing Platform

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:

·         Approve Amendment Two to the Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2021–25 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance on pages 79.

2.    Chair’s Report—Steve Woelfel, MassDOT

There was none.

3.    Executive Director’s Report—Tegin Teich, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS)

T. Teich introduced two newly hired members of the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS), Deputy Executive Director Gina Perille and Julie Dombroski, a member of the Traffic Analysis and Design group.

T. Teich noted that MPO staff are working to update the language of the MPO’s Transportation Equity goal in advance of the adoption of a new Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) in 2023. Betsy Harvey and Kate White, MPO staff, are also working to form an Equity Task Force to engage stakeholders in the MPO’s equity work.

T. Teich stated that MPO staff would hold the winter Inner Core Committee (ICC) Transportation meeting on January 13, 2021. This will be a virtual session in addition to the regularly scheduled ICC subregional meeting. She also encouraged new and existing board members to attend the virtual MPO 101 orientation session held directly following this board meeting.

T. Teich mentioned that she had been quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding the future of commutes post-pandemic. Her quote highlighted the importance of investing in alternative modes to driving.

T. Teich stated that there would be an Administration and Finance Committee meeting at 9:00 AM on January 21, 2021, in advance of the next MPO meeting.

T. Teich provided an update on the CTPS Strategic Planning process, noting that the next step is to develop objectives and actions.

4.    Public Comments 

Janie Dretler (Sudbury Select Board) stated that the Town of Sudbury recently voted to acquire CSX (a supplier of rail-based freight transportation) right-of-way in order to extend the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail from north of Route 20 through South Sudbury to the Framingham line. The Town has also contracted with a consultant to produce 75 percent design plans for this section of the trail.

5.    Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

6.    Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Lenard Diggins, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council

L. Diggins stated that the Advisory Council would next meet on January 13, 2021. Kate Fichter, MassDOT, was scheduled to speak about the Shared Streets program.

7.    Action Items: Approval of November 19, 2020, December 3, 2020, and December 17, 2020, MPO Meeting Minutes—Barbara Rutman, MPO Staff

1.    November 19, 2020, MPO Meeting Minutes

2.    December 3, 2020, MPO Meeting Minutes

3.    December 17, 2020, MPO Meeting Minutes


A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of November 19, 2020, was made by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Advisory Board (Brian Kane) and seconded by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) (Eric Bourassa). The motion carried.

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of December 3, 2020, was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (Tina Cassidy). The South Shore Coalition (Town of Rockland) (Jennifer Constable) abstained. The motion carried.

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of December 17, 2020, was made by the Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (T. Cassidy) and seconded by the MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham) (Thatcher Kezer III). The motion carried.

8.    Action Item: FFYs 202125 TIP Amendment Two—Matt Genova, MPO Staff

1.    FFYs 202125 TIP Amendment Two

M. Genova stated that Amendment Two includes the reallocation of transit capital funds to cover operating expenses as part of the MBTA’s Forging Ahead initiative. These changes are in response to the disruption in system ridership caused by COVID-19 and the resulting drop in fare revenue. He noted that Amendment Two was released for a 21-day public review period on December 7, 2020. The comment period closed on December 28, 2020, and no public comments were submitted during that time.


Samantha Silverberg (MBTA) stated that the most recent federal COVID-19 Relief Bill includes relief for transit agencies, and the MBTA is awaiting Federal Transit Administration guidance on the precise amounts the agency will receive. The MBTA plans to discuss the strategy for these funds with the Fiscal & Management Control Board on Monday, January 11, 2021. S. Silverberg requested that the MPO approve this amendment to allow the MBTA maximum flexibility to maintain and restore service by using federal formula funds for preventative maintenance. Any further changes would be presented and discussed during the annual MassDOT MBTA Capital Investment Plan and TIP development processes later in the spring.

E. Bourassa asked S. Silverberg to clarify that the MBTA is seeking maximum flexibility, but is still developing the exact plans for service changes. S. Silverberg agreed.


A motion to endorse Amendment Two to the FFYs 202125 TIP was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the Advisory Council (L. Diggins). The motion carried.

9.    Action Item: Providence UZA MOU—Jonathan Church, MPO Staff

1.    Providence UZA MOU

J. Church stated that federal statutes require MPOs to formalize coordination when multiple MPOs exist in a single UZA, as defined by the United States Census. MPOs and public transportation operators are strongly encouraged to coordinate to ensure consistent development of LRTPs, TIPs, and any transportation investments that extend across boundaries. The Boston Region MPO updated its MOU following federal recertification in 2018. The signatories of that MOU are MPOs that abut the Boston Region MPO area, including some in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. This MOU is being advanced because part of the Providence UZA is in the Boston Region MPO area. The Rhode Island Division of Statewide Planning asks the MPO to endorse the MOU.


A motion to endorse the Providence UZA MOU was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane). The motion carried.

10. Action Item: Worcester UZA MOU—Jonathan Church, MPO Staff

1.    Worcester Urbanized Area MOU

The Worcester UZA abuts the western part of the Boston Region MPO area and the MPO is named as a signatory on that MOU. This vote is similar to that taken regarding the Providence UZA MOU.


A motion to endorse the Worcester UZA MOU was made by the MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham) (T. Kezer III) and seconded by MAPC (E. Bourassa). The motion carried.

11. Staff-Generated Research: Using United States Census Data as a Proxy for Transit Rider Survey Data—Emily Domanico, MPO Staff

1.    Using United States Census Data as a Proxy for Transit Rider Survey Data

E. Domanico stated transit rider demographic data are important for analyzing transit system use and are especially helpful in service equity analyses. This staff-generated research project looked at whether gaps in passenger survey data could be compensated for with United States Census demographic data to predict ridership trends. The data were split into two categories, transit riders and nontransit riders. MPO staff looked for demographic trends in known rider demographics to predict ridership in a new service area. The study found that there were not sufficient data to predict likely transit riders in a new, unstudied service area. The major finding of the study is that while the MBTA passenger ridership survey is representative of riders, it is an imbalanced dataset of overall MBTA service area residents. E. Domanico stated that a possible path forward is to conduct a future demographic survey of both transit riders and nontransit riders for a defined service area designed to quantify that relationship to census demographic data.


Daniel Amstutz (At-Large Town) (Town of Arlington) asked for clarification on the definition of riders versus nontransit riders. E. Domanico agreed that the distinction is a little synthetic. For the study, staff looked to the MBTA ridership, specifically the most recent MBTA service used during a specific timeframe. E. Domanico added that it is important to know that there is no direct information on nontransit riders.

S. Silverberg asked if MPO staff coordinated with the MBTA’s Office of Performance Management & Innovation (OPMI) survey team and if so, what the response was to the analysis. E. Domanico responded that the project team had not contacted OPMI but agreed that would be a good next step. S. Silverberg suggested using this work as a point of collaboration between CTPS, the MBTA, and MassDOT.

David Koses (At-Large City) (City of Newton) asked how it might be possible to account for people who use transit by choice, as long as it remains convenient for them, and at what point ridership breaks down when convenience is reduced. E. Domanico agreed that demographics may play a role, but do not replace route planning or service reliability as predictors of ridership.

12. Members Items

Ken Miller (Federal Highway Administration [FHWA]) stated that the federal COVID-19 relief measure passed at the end of the year included $1.4 trillion in annual appropriations for transportation and an additional $10 billion that will be allocated to state Department of Transportations through FHWA. FHWA has 30 days to allocate the funding. The funding will be available for four years and can be used for capital projects, maintenance, operations, and other projects state Department of Transportations would not normally be able to use federal capital funding for.

L. Diggins asked that MPO staff provide more information on how the collaboration laid out in the MOUs approved earlier takes place.


A motion to adjourn was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the ICC (City of Somerville) (Tom Bent). 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 Brookline)

Todd Kirrane 

Heather Hamilton     

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 Romano  

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Samantha    Silverberg

Jillian Linnell 

Massachusetts Port Authority


MBTA Advisory Board

Brian Kane   

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa   

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Thatcher Kezer III 

Erika Oliver-Jerram

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton)

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Darlene Wynne   

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy  

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Lenard Diggins  

South Shore Coalition (Town of Rockland)

Jennifer Constable 

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Peter Pelletier  

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

Tom O’Rourke 

Steve Olanoff  



Other Attendees


Rich Benevento 

WorldTech Engineering

Joe Blankenship 

City of Boston

Andreae Downs  

City of Newton

Janie Dretler 


Joy Glynn    

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority

Kristen Guichard   

Town of Acton

Michelle Ho  


Erika Oliver Jerram 

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Kristina Johnson   

Town of Hudson

Ali Kleyman 

City of Somerville

Ben Muller 


Bryan Pounds  


C. Senior   


Jeanette Rebecchi 

Town of Bedford

Constance Raphael  


Angela Servello  


Frank Tramontozzi    

City of Quincy

Amber Vaillancourt  


Eric Waaramaa    



MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Tegin Teich, Executive Director    

Steven Andrews 

Matt Archer 

Jonathan Church 

Paul Christner 

Emily Domanico    

Annette Demchur  

Róisín Foley  

Hiral Gandhi 

Matt Genova 

Betsy Harvey    

Sandy Johnston  

Anne McGahan    

Roger Roy

Barbara Rutman 

Michelle Scott  

Kate White 



The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.

The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.

A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact

Title VI Specialist
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116
857.702.3700 (voice)
617.570.9193 (TTY)