MPO Meeting Minutes

Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

September 2, 2021, Meeting

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

David Mohler, Chair, representing Jamey Tesler, Secretary of Transportation and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)


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

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance on page 6.

2.    Chair’s Report—David Mohler, MassDOT

D. Mohler announced that the MPO would not meet on September 16, 2021, and would instead meet on September 23, 2021.

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

T. Teich provided an update on two open positions at CTPS.

4.    Public Comments

There were none.

5.    Committee Chairs’ Reports—Derek Shooster, MassDOT, Chair, Unified Planning Work Program Committee

D. Shooster reported that the UPWP Committee met prior to the MPO board meeting and agreed to recommend that the MPO vote to endorse draft UPWP Amendment One.

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

L. Diggins reported that the Advisory Council would next meet on September 8, 2021.

7.    Action Item: Approval of July 15, 2021, MPO Meeting Minutes—Ariel Patterson, MPO Staff


A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of July 15, 2021, was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (Brian Kane) and seconded by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) (Eric Bourassa). At-Large Town (Town of Arlington) (Daniel Amstutz) and Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton) (Austin Cyganiewicz) abstained. The motion carried.

8.    Action Item: FFY 2021 UPWP Amendment One—Sandy Johnston, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Recommended Revisions to Certain 3C Budgets (FFY 2021)

2.    Draft FFY 2021 UPWP Amendment One

3.    Comment Letter: Conservation Law Foundation

S. Johnston stated that Draft Amendment One to the FFY 2021 UPWP accounts for actual spending in the first three quarters of FFY 2021 and fourth-quarter needs. In addition to the changes proposed to the CTPS budget, the amendment includes a minor change to work conducted by MAPC using UPWP funds. S. Johnston stated that the MPO voted to release this amendment for a 21-day public review period at the meeting on August 5, 2021. MPO staff received one comment on the amendment from the Conservation Law Foundation. The letter expressed disappointment that the amendment reallocates funding from the Transportation Equity Program because staff have not had the opportunity to expend the funds despite the equity needs of the region.


A motion to endorse Amendment One to the FFY 2021 UPWP was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville) (Tom Bent). The motion carried.

9.    Community Connections Program Update—Matt Genova and Sandy Johnston, MPO Staff

M. Genova provided an update on and recommendations for the MPO’s Community Connections Program. Community Connections is one of the investment programs established in the MPO’s current Long-Range Transportation Plan. The program funds first- and last-mile connections and other small, non-traditional projects that promote mobility. The MPO’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) includes $2 million annually for Community Connections. The second round of funding was allocated in the most recent TIP. M. Genova stated that during the most recent funding cycle, seven out of the 17 proponents applied for funding for transit operating projects, representing 64 percent of the total funding requested. The MPO funded ten projects, allocating the full $2 million in FFY 2022 and including future year funding for both transit operating projects selected.

M. Genova stated that current challenges for the program fall into two main categories: administrative hurdles and the demands of transit operating projects. The program places a heavy administrative burden on staff in MassDOT’s Office of Transportation Planning to manage contracts with proponents. Transit operating projects require additional analysis to determine net greenhouse gas reductions before they can be eligible for another year of funding. The funding of operating projects across multiple years limits the amount of funding within the program for smaller projects going forward.

M. Genova proposed streamlining the application process, simplifying the administration of capital projects, and changing the approach for transit operating projects. Streamlining the application would involve shortening the application and clarifying eligible project types. Simplifying the administration of capital projects would involve moving to a collective purchasing model, wherein MAPC would conduct a joint procurement for all capital items approved through the program each year. M. Genova described two options relative to funding transit operating projects. The first would require that shuttle and microtransit projects be administered directly by a regional transit authority (RTA). The other option would remove transit operating projects from the list of eligible projects.

M. Genova stated that MPO staff will finalize any adjustments to the program and begin the application process for next year’s round of funding on October 1, 2021, the beginning of FFY 2022. Project proposals will be due in December.


D. Amstutz asked whether limiting the number of transit operating projects funded in a given year would reduce the administrative burden and whether RTAs are open to administrating projects. D. Amstutz also asked for clarification as to how the collective procurement process would work.

S. Johnston replied that MPO staff would reach out to RTAs to explore this option if the MPO expressed interest in it. S. Johnston added that MPO staff have discussed introducing caps on the percentage of funds spent on specific project types in a given year, but that the number does not necessarily reduce the administrative burden for MPO staff. Rather, the issue would be future flexibility for the program and how much program funding the MPO board believes should be taken up by operating projects. S. Johnston stated that MAPC would create a collective procurement agreement for each category of projects, wherein the types of objects a proponent can procure are defined, and MAPC would write a contract for each group. E. Bourassa added that the intent would be to determine demand, write a contract, and then allow proponents to apply for materials that are already accounted for. This would also help account for current supply chain issues.

Tom O’Rourke (Three Rivers Interlocal Council) (Town of Norwood/Neponset River Regional Chamber) expressed concern at the idea of eliminating operating projects given that first- and last-mile connections were the main reason for creating the program. T. O’Rourke noted that it may be too early to judge the ridership of current operating projects due to the impacts of COVID-19. S. Johnston noted that in creating the program, the MPO expressed a desire to fund some transit operating projects while ensuring that they would survive past the period of MPO funding. S. Johnston said that applications have been mixed in terms of how successful proponents have been in ensuring future financial stability. S. Johnston stated that the question is whether the MPO thinks it’s important that there be a funding source in the region for these types of projects.

Jim Fitzgerald also wondered how interested RTAs are in taking on the administrative burden of operating projects and expressed support for a dollar limit on operating projects.

B. Kane agreed that shifting the administrative burden to RTAs may not be welcome. He asked whether any currently funded projects have had an air quality benefit or shown evidence of improving or increasing ridership, not just shifting riders from another mode of public transit. S. Johnston stated that the only currently funded operating project that has actually launched is a micro-transit project in Newton, so there is no currently actionable ridership or air quality data.

K. Miller stated that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is not opposed either to shifting administration to RTAs or to having MAPC craft a purchasing agreement, but he noted that MassDOT does not have a program to certify local public agencies to manage federal contracts. FHWA and MAPC would need to discuss questions as to a subrecipient implementing federal construction funds. K. Miller clarified that the intent of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program (which is the federal program that funds Community Connections) is to make funds available as seed money. Air quality benefit is determined not just via ridership but also by using ridership surveys that indicate prior mode of transportation and other factors.

E. Bourassa stated that if it turns out that MAPC cannot play a role in overseeing procurements, that part of the program may not make sense.

D. Mohler noted that MassDOT oversees similar projects at other MPOs, so working this out with FHWA is not insurmountable.

Susan Barrett (Town of Lexington) expressed support for RTAs administrating or coordinating operating projects in order to reduce gaps in service and make sure services are not duplicative.

L. Diggins asked whether the Transit Working Group (TWG) has been involved in changes to the program. S. Johnston stated that MPO staff would put this topic on the agenda for an upcoming TWG meeting.

D. Mohler stated that discussion seemed to indicate that the MPO is relatively comfortable with proposed changes to the application process and capital project administration. D. Mohler stated that MPO staff should bring the question of administering operating projects via RTAs directly to the RTAs and the TWG before the MPO makes a decision on that recommendation. D. Mohler stated that staff should also explore what a cap on transit operating projects could or should look like before returning to the MPO.

10.Members Items

There were none.


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




and Alternates

At-Large City (City of Everett)

Jay Monty

At-Large City (City of Newton)

Jason Sobel

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Daniel Amstutz

At-Large Town (Town of Brookline)

Heather Hamilton

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Bill Conroy

Federal Highway Administration

Ken Miller

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

David Mohler

John Bechard

MassDOT Highway Division

John Romano

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

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

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton)

Austin Cyganiewicz

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


Aleida Leza

Belmont resident

Amira Patterson

MBTA Advisory Board

Benjamin N.W. Muller

MassDOT Highway District 6

Derek Krevat

MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning

Derek Shooster

MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning

Gus Norrbom


Johannes Epke

Conservation Law Foundation

Jon Seward

Community Design Partnership

Josh Klingenstein


Joy Glynn


Michelle Ho

MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning

Mike Garrity


Sheila Page

Town of Lexington

Susan Barrett

Town of Lexington

Todd Baldwin

Town of Saugus

Wesley Lickus


Yahaira Graxirena

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission

Zack Blais

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Tegin Teich, Executive Director

Mark Abbott

Matt Archer

Jonathan Church

Annette Demchur

Róisín Foley

Hiral Gandhi

Matt Genova

Betsy Harvey

Sandy Johnston

Anne McGahan

Marty Milkovits

Ariel Patterson

Gina Perille

Michelle Scott


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

By Telephone:
857.702.3702 (voice)

For people with hearing or speaking difficulties, connect through the state MassRelay service:

·         Relay Using TTY or Hearing Carry-over: 800.439.2370

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