Administration and Finance (A&F) Committee Meeting Minutes Draft Memorandum for the Record
Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
Brian Kane, Chair, representing the MBTA Advisory Board
The Administration and Finance Committee agreed to the following:
Materials for this meeting included the following:
See attendance on page 5.
There were none.
A motion to approve the summary was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (Brian Kane). The motion carried.
A motion to approve the summary was made by the MetroWest Regional Collaborative (Dennis Giombetti) and seconded by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (Eric Bourassa). The motion carried.
Tegin Teich, Executive Director of the Central Transportation Planning Staff opened her discussion by sharing a document outlining scenarios for a possible TIP Committee of the MPO Board. The goal of this committee would be to hold more discussion and build more consensus prior to full MPO board meeting around questions or issues related to TIP projects. T. Teich suggested that this committee could focus more on municipal or subregional representatives. Additionally, this committee could engage in other aspects of TIP development, such as conducting an annual review of project selection criteria (as set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding of 2011) or reviewing the Universe development process. This committee would also be able to understand project cost and detail changes ahead of amendments, as the TIP undergoes many amendments over the course of a fiscal year.
B. Kane expressed his support for this iteration of a TIP Committee, and stressed that it is important that the committee, and thereby the MPO Board, knows about potential cost or scope changes before the day of a vote or decision regarding a given project.
Lenard Diggins (Regional Transportation Advisory Council) suggested having longer or more meetings of the full MPO Board to ensure a robust conversation among all members with an interest in TIP projects.
E. Bourassa asked how many meetings a year would this committee be expected to hold. T. Teich stated that that is still yet to be determined, but staff are thinking about a monthly meeting schedule. E. Bourassa cautioned that the MPO is already a big time commitment for members, and adding in another meeting would be a burden. He asked how membership is determined. T. Teich responded that that question has not yet been decided.
Derek Krevat (MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning) shared that MassDOT’s participation in a potential TIP Committee would be more in a coordination role, and its representative (likely D. Krevat) would conduct coordination and discussions primarily offline. Altogether, though, MassDOT’s participation would be largely in the background.
D. Giombetti asked whether this committee would look at project scoring or just examining criteria in general. T. Teich responded that the committee would look at each project in-depth, including scoring. D. Giombetti responded that it may be wise for this committee to develop multiple scenarios to present to the full board. He then asked whether it would be possible o bring back TIP Readiness Days in front of this committee.
B. Kane responded that the main concern with TIP Readiness Days is that there are so many projects that need to be heard, there ends up not being enough time for the committee or board to hear each project thoroughly. E. Bourassa raised the issue that this may be another committee where many members of the board would want to participate, but that it is important to have this space for in-depth discussion on project readiness without placing too much of a burden on members’ time.
D. Giombetti suggested that the issue is a loss of control versus a loss of time: a lot of members may not be happy that in-depth project discussions will move out of the larger MPO board and into a committee. However, the MPO board does not necessarily have the time for these discussions.
B. Kane agreed that this is a difficult question, and suggested bringing this debate to the larger board.
D. Giombetti raised that there is still potential for some TIP discussions to be held at the board level.
T. Teich stated that the goal of this committee would not be to take away control from the larger board, and therefore this committee does not have decision-making authority. It is important for this committee to be a space to process information; otherwise, its conversations would be circular and fruitless.
Brad Rawson (City of Somerville) asked staff to expand on the timing of the A&F Committee’s recommendations on the Operations Plan to the Long-Range Transportation Plan and other core activities for 2023. T. Teich stated that the committee hopes to present a draft of the Operations Plan to the full board in March.
Ethan Lapointe (MPO Staff) stated that between March and June, TIP development is in full swing and the committee would be expected to facilitate discussions on specific scenarios (but not on individual projects).
B. Kane then moved to discuss the next item on the agenda, MPO Resolutions. Resolutions are non-binding and require a simple majority, and should additionally appear in the meeting minutes as an official record of the discussion. Resolutions should additionally go to the Secretary of Transportation, the CEO of the agency or municipality that the resolution concerns, and the MPO member representing that subregion or municipality on the board.
E. Bourassa added that it would be good for the MPO to pass resolutions, but it should be judicious about how many it passes. E. Bourassa asked whether a resolution concerning a piece of active legislation should then be sent to the appropriate representative or senator. B. Kane agreed and offered that it would be important to send approved resolutions to other appropriate individuals as needed.
T. Teich asked for some clarification on B. Kane’s final point. B. Kane stated that other individuals could refer to a municipality’s mayor or chief executive, or the general manager of the MBTA, for example.
L. Diggins expressed that the worksheet should drop references to resolutions becoming law. T. Teich agreed, noting that resolutions are not binding.
B. Rawson asked whether there is any follow-up regarding resolutions, pointing towards the Green Line Extension project. He highlighted that resolutions should be focused on larger, impactful actions, and cautioned against spurious resolutions without follow-up.
B. Kane agreed, and expressed that the Board should be thoughtful about the message it is sending with resolutions, and who is intended to receive it. He additionally stated that it is the responsibility of members who have been on the board for a long time to ensure that resolutions are intentional and with meaning. B. Kane suggested compiling an annual report of all of the resolutions of the past year, even if informal, in the spirit of accountability.
T. Teich introduced the final agenda item, MPO Work Products, but noted that there may not be enough time for the discussion, and offered to send around a written summary to members and hold discussion until the next meeting.
A motion to adjourn was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (Brian Kane). The meeting was adjourned without objection.
MBTA Advisory Board
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Regional Transportation Advisory Council
MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning
City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)
MetroWest Regional Collaborative, City of Framingham
Town of Burlington
City of Somerville
MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff
Tegin Teich, Executive Director
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Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116
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