Scenarios for Increased Engagement on the TIP Process

Boston Region Metropolitan Organizationís Administration and Finance Committee members, in discussions about an MPO Operations Plan, requested that staff develop some potential scenarios for engagement in the TIP process by board members outside of the policy board. The intent of these scenarios is not to duplicate work done at the full MPO policy board level, but rather further support it. Committee members agreed that these scenarios should also not result in a dilution of decision-making at the policy board level to other forums. One proposal was to establish a new committee to accomplish these goals (Option 1). More details are provided on a potential approach for establishing such a committee than the other options at this time, to establish whether the committee membersí continue to be interested in establishing a separate committee. Two less detailed alternative options are described as Option 2 and Option 3. More details can be added to those approaches if committee members are interested in doing so.


Option 1: Establish a TIP Process, Engagement, & Readiness Committee

Opportunities: Greater transparency and engagement in the TIP development process, forum to encourage more engagement between board members and their subregions, can serve as a supportive foundation for consensus building at policy board meetings

Challenges: Additional meeting time, risk of duplication of work done at policy board meetings


Charge: Engage board members in a targeted, ongoing review of the TIP development process to increase collaboration and engagement between staff, board members, MassDOT, MBTA, and RTAs, and project proponents.


Primary target members:

       Subregional representatives (municipal staff/liaisons)

       RTAC (an engagement arm of the MPO)

       Representatives of state and regional agencies for coordination and collaboration (MassDOT, MBTA, RTAs, MAPC)


Example of committee activities:

       Annually review TIP criteria


       Engage and inform committee members, empowering them to share insights with potential project proponents

       Discuss whether criteria reflect MPO priorities, local needs, and challenges facing the region (note that if the committee members believe that updates to the criteria are warranted, that would be shared with the full policy board, where all work to update criteria and decision making about the criteria would take place)

       Review universe development process


       Engage and educate committee members

       Engage committee members in a deeper conversation to determine project status in subregions and to improve the universe

       Review scoring process and results


       Engage and inform committee members, empowering them to ask questions and provide feedback into the process

       Identify potential barriers to entry or difficulties for municipalities in the project solicitation process

       Give board members information to use in engaging with project proponents in their region.

       Input on general approach to scenario development


       To receive interim feedback on the evolution of TIP funding scenarios when feasible

       To discuss how scenarios may address regional priorities and challenges (ex: a conservative programming scenario that may better accommodate cost increases)

       Discuss project cost and readiness challenges


       Provide a forum for more detailed and interactive discussions on project readiness challenges

       Identify recurring challenges for projects and discuss mitigation strategies

       Develop concepts for general strengths and weaknesses for certain types of projects

Below is a way that committee activities (green) could occur in relation to the TIP development process timeline (blue), which is more focused on timepoints relevant for the full policy board.

Option 2: Engage RTAC or an RTAC subcommittee in more comprehensive TIP engagement

Opportunities: Engagement arm, takes advantage of existing meeting time

Challenges: May not be as effective in being inclusive of current board members and subregions, could detract from other RTAC topics


Option 3: Retain full board participation, but add content to board meetings to meet the intent of the proposed TIP committee

Opportunities: Greater engagement of full board, may make board meetings more interactive

Challenges: More public and formal setting can be less conducive to broad engagement of board members and open-ended discussion, could result in longer board meetings