RTAC Letterhead


Draft Memorandum for the Record

Regional Transportation Advisory Council Meeting

September 8, 2021, Meeting Minutes

2:30 PM–4:10 PM, Zoom

Lenard Diggins, Chair, representing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Ridership Oversight Committee

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

Lenard Diggins called the meeting to order at 2:33 PM. Introductions were skipped. (For attendance list, see page five.)

2.    Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)—Andy Reker, City of Cambridge

A. Reker discussed a draft letter from the Advisory Council’s 3C Documents Committee to the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The letter conveys the Committee’s recommendations about the proposed FFY 202122 UPWP. A. Reker listed the main recommendations:

·       The study “Addressing Equity and Access in the Blue Hills” is too limited in scope to receive funding

·       More funding should be allocated to the study on “Post-COVID Recovery”


L. Diggins explained that the deadline for comment had already been missed, so the letter will serve as a record of the Advisory Council’s positions on the draft 202122 UPWP.

Laura Wiener, City of Watertown; John McQueen, WalkBoston; Franny Osman, Acton Transportation Advisory Committee; Jon Seward, MoveMassachusetts; Matthew Petersen, TransitMatters; Jen Rowe, City of Boston; L. Diggins; and A. Reker discussed concerns about over-allocation of parking spaces and trip generation for new biotech and other development projects.

A motion to approve the letter, as written, for submission to the MPO was made by the City of Watertown (L. Wiener) and seconded by the City of Cambridge (A. Reker). The motion carried.

3.    Destination 2040 Needs Assessment Discussion—Lenard Diggins, Chair

L. Diggins discussed Chapter 10 of the Destination 2040 Needs Assessment to the Long-Range Transportation Plan of the Boston Region MPO. He also mentioned some items included in the Appendices, including the LRTP Needs Assessment Data Browser, links to which can be found in Appendix C.


J. McQueen said that two equity items in Table 10-1 should also get X-marks indicating their impact on Safety and Economic Vitality; he also said Table 10-2 should include an item about enhanced expansion of pedestrian and bike facilities.

4.    Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Ad Hoc Committee—Lenard Diggins, Chair

L. Diggins described three key elements of the “Draft Programming Policies to Address TIP Project Cost Increases,” which was prepared by the TIP Project Cost Ad Hoc Committee:

·       Require more advanced design status at project programming

·       Create additional biannual touch points between project proponents, MPO staff, the MPO board, and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) staff

·       Rescore projects when costs increase beyond a specified threshold

The recommendations aim to avoid significant cost overruns for projects selected for funding in the TIP. The final document will be presented to the Boston Region MPO board at its September 23, 2021, meeting.

L. Diggins read a letter to the Advisory Council from Sheila Page, Town of Lexington. S. Page supports the Ad Hoc Committee’s policy recommendations in the draft document but feels the proposed cost-increase threshold of $2.5 million or 25 percent of project cost should be lowered.


L. Wiener, L. Diggins, J. Seward, and J. Rowe discussed how cost overruns are often due to changing conditions that are beyond the control of project proponents and administrators.

J.R. Frey, Town of Hingham; David Montgomery, Town of Needham; and L. Diggins discussed the impact of the Committee’s recommended policy changes on lengthy projects, such as Hingham’s Route 3A corridor project.

5.    Advisory Council Election Discussion—Matt Archer, Advisory Council Coordinator

M. Archer and L. Diggins discussed the upcoming November election for the Chair and Vice Chair positions of the Advisory Council. L. Diggins said his decision to stand for re-election as Chair is dependent on whether any other members decide to run for the office. M. Archer called for self-nominations of candidates for either office; no self-nominations were made.

M. Archer called for volunteers to sit on the Election Subcommittee. J. Seward; Fred Moseley, American Council of Engineering Companies; and Owen MacDonald, Town of Weymouth, agreed to sit on the Subcommittee.

6.    Topics for Future Advisory Council Meetings—L. Diggins, Chair

L. Diggins solicited Advisory Council members’ desired topics for upcoming Advisory Council meetings.


J. McQueen suggested three topics:

·       MBTA Advisory Board’s recommendations to the MBTA to increase bus and subway ridership

·       Glen Berkowitz, Project Manager at A Better City, to discuss various projects, including the Allston I-90 Multimodal Project, West Station, and Grand Junction in Cambridge

·       Update from MassDOT on the Accelerated Bridge Program

F. Osman suggested two topics:

·       Status of the North–South Rail Link, including changes in federal funding

·       Update on public microtransit projects

J. Seward and F. Osman discussed that COVID-19 recovery funding represents a historic opportunity to consider the big picture about transportation investments in the region. F. Osman proposed that someone from the Regional Transit Authority Advocates Coalition be invited to present on the topic of COVID-19 spending available for transit.

D. Montgomery proposed inviting someone from the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation, which would reestablish a connection between that Committee and the Advisory Council that existed in the past.

7.    Chair’s Report—Lenard Diggins, Chair

L. Diggins discussed items from recent Boston Region MPO meetings:

·       Proposed changes to how the MPO will handle Community Connections programs: The changes aim to streamline the application process and simplify administration of projects, partly by moving to a collective purchasing model.

·       MPO Municipal Election Process Survey Results: L. Diggins would like to see both the MPO and the Advisory Council make more progress with the gender and race diversity of their membership.

·       The MPO’s Draft Public Outreach Plan (POP) was released for a 45-day comment period: L. Diggins said that Advisory Council attendees should read the draft POP and that the Advisory Council should comment on it.

·       “Mapping Major Infrastructure Milestones,” a new interactive mapping application presented by Ken Dumas, MPO staff, which can be found at www.ctps.org/applications: L. Diggins recommended the tool, which visually displays milestones in the multimodal transportation infrastructure system within the Boston Region MPO from 1800 to the present.

8.    Old Business, New Business, and Member Announcements

There were no items.

9.    Adjourn 

A motion to adjourn was made by WalkBoston (J. McQueen) and seconded by the Town of Needham (D. Montgomery). The motion carried.




Member Municipalities

Representatives and Alternates

City of Cambridge

Andy Reker

Town of Needham

David Montgomery

Town of Weymouth

Owen MacDonald

City of Watertown

Laura Wiener


Member Citizen Advocacy Groups

Representatives and Alternates

MBTA Ridership Oversight Committee (ROC)

Lenard Diggins

National Rural Transit Assistance Program

Scott Zadakis

Acton Transportation Advisory Committee

Franny Osman

American Council of Engineering Companies

Fred Moseley

Boston Society of Architects

Schuyler Larrabee


Jon Seward


John McQueen


Other Attendees


Jen Rowe

City of Boston

Todd Kirrane

Town of Brookline

John Strauss

Town of Burlington

J.R. Frey

Town of Hingham

Matthew Petersen


Mark Bedard

Lindsay Infrastructure

Mike G.



MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Matt Archer




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 http://www.bostonmpo.org/mpo_non_discrimination. 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:
857.702.3700 (voice)

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

·       Relay Using TTY or Hearing Carry-over: 800.439.2370

·       Relay Using Voice Carry-over: 866.887.6619

·       Relay Using Text to Speech: 866.645.9870

For more information, including numbers for Spanish speakers, visit https://www.mass.gov/massrelay.