PVPC Legislative Priorities

02 Mar 2023

Congratulations to Hampden and Hampshire Counties' State Representatives and Senators for being entrusted by their constituents to represent our Valley's interests in this new legislative session.

Now that the deadline for timely filed bills has come and gone, we are excited to share PVPC's legislative priorities.

Below, please find the policy and budgetary issues we hope to work with our planning district's delegation on in the Massachusetts General Court over the next two years.

Legislative Priorities

An Act relative to RPAs: This bill would enshrine current practice regarding retirement payments in statute.


Municipal and Public Safety Building Authority: Massachusetts currently supports municipalities in the construction of new school facilities with funding through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). However, no such Authority or dedicated funding stream exists to assist municipalities as they build or upgrade other necessary municipal facilities. This bill would establish a Massachusetts Municipal and Public Safety Building Authority to similarly assist municipalities in financing upgrades to existing municipal buildings or the construction of new municipal or public safety facilities.


Office of Rural Policy: This legislation would establish an Office of Rural Policy as recommended in the 2019 Rural Policy Plan put forward by the the Rural Policy Advisory Commission (RPAC). As Massachusetts’ rural communities plan for their future, the Office of Rural Policy would not only foster greater collaboration between small communities with similar challenges, thus increasing efficiency, but also provide a critical mechanism for continuous evaluation of established policies and programs’ ability to serve rural communities, and the opportunity to continuously adjust these policies and programs based on the Office’s findings.


Remote Meetings: This bill would allow public bodies to continue conducting public meetings virtually without in-person attendance requirements, as they have throughout the pandemic, and preserve these bodies’ discretion over the format of their meetings (e.g. virtual, in-person, hyrbid). MARPA is supportive of extending the local option for representative and open town meetings as well.


Public Meeting Notices: The closure of local print media outlets across Massachusetts has forced many communities to post public meeting notices in regional or metropolitan publications to meet public meeting posting requirements, drastically increasing the cost of these postings, while doing little to ensure residents see them. This bill would allow public bodies to post notices of their meetings in local online media publications, rather than requiring these notices be available in print.


Regional Ballot Initiatives: This bill enables a municipality (or multiple municipalities which form a regional district) to place a question on the ballot relative to raising revenue for local or regional transportation projects, as is common practice to fund these projects in California, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, and several other states. These initiatives enjoy high rates of passage (70-80%) and operate as key transportation funding mechanisms in states where they are used.


Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Reform: This bill sets a floor for RTA contract assistance, dedicates half of revenue raised from transportation network company (TNC) fees to RTAs, requires MassDOT to fund RTA capital projects at the same rate as MBTA capital projects, directs MassDOT to support RTAs in planning for bus electrification, and ends the use of the farebox recovery ratio in RTA performance metrics. The bill also requires that the RTA Council report annually to the Legislature on funding, technical assistance and service needs, and adds two seats to the Council for frequent RTA riders.


SAPHE 2.0: Following on the success of the SAPHE Act, SAPHE 2.0 seeks to build on the success of Public Health Excellence grants and implement the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health. This includes establishing: minimum public health standards for all communities, a uniform data collection and reporting system, incentives for cross-municipal collaboration in public health, and the Commonwealth’s first sustainable state-level funding mechanism to support local and regional boards of health.


Local Option Transfer Fee: This bill would grant municipalities statewide the power to levy a fee of up to 2% on certain real estate transactions to support local affordable housing needs. It enumerates several mandatory exemptions including transfers between family, transfers of properties subject to affordable housing restrictions, and transfer for less than 100% of the state median sales price, or if a municipality's median sale price is below that of the state, the county median sales price. The bill also allows municipalities the flexibility to set further exemptions.


HERO (Housing and Environmental Revenue Options): This legislation would increase the deeds excise fee statewide from $4.56 per $1,000 of taxable value to $9.12 per $1,000 of taxable value, splitting the estimated $300 million in additional tax revenue evenly between affordable housing and climate, inclusive of both mitigation and adaptation.


Budget Priorities

District Local Technical Assistance (1599-0026): DLTA funding is distributed to the Commonwealth’s 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) serving the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts to allow RPAs to provide technical assistance that bridges the gap between communities planning needs and their planning capacity. The technical assistance provided to these communities on local and regional projects ranging from land use permitting, zoning, housing production and preservation, and economic development, to infrastructure, energy, climate, and public health planning.

Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (2000-1014): The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program provides both planning and action grants for municipalities looking to plan and take action to mitigate the biggest climate change related challenges facing their communities. MARPA will advocate for an increase in funding for the program to allow it to provide deeper benefits to a greater number of communities.

Regional Transit Authorities (1595-6370): The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and regional transit authorities (RTAs) like it across our Commonwealth share a single line item that continues to lag behind the ever increasing cost of running what for some of our most vulnerable residents is a life line to destinations of employment, health care, education, and social inclusion.

Continuing, Comprehensive, and Cooperative Planning Process

Average Annual Daily Traffic

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

Average Daily Traffic

American Farmland Trust

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

American Heritage Rivers Initiative

American International College

Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Approval Not Required

American Planning Association

Aquifer Protection District

Air Quality Index

Air Quality Index

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (of 2009)

Automatic Traffic Recorder

Average Vehicle Ridership

Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee

Business Improvement District

Bicycle Level of Service

Best Management Practice

Bridge Management System

Board of Appeals (or Adjustment)

Board of Health

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990

Commercial Area Revitalization District

Community Action Statement

Central Business District

Cape Cod Commission

Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield

Community Development

Community Development Action Grant

Community Development Block Grant

Centers for Disease Control

Community Development Corporation

Community Development Fund

Community Development Plan

Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation

Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Community Enterprise Economic Development

Citizen Housing and Planning Association

Community Housing Development Organizations

Capital Improvement Inventory System

Capital Improvements Plan (or Program)

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program

Congestion Management Process

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission

Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area

Compressed Natural Gas

Carbon Monoxide

Council of Governments

Commonwealth Procurement Access and Solicitation System

Community Preservation Act

Citizen Planner Training Collaborative

Capitol Region Council of Governments

Community Service Block Grant

Combined Sewer Overflow

Department of Conservation and Recreation

Department of Environmental Protection

Division of Employment and Training

Department of Housing and Community Development

Direct Local Technical Assistance

Department of Energy Resources

Department of Revenue

Department of Transportation

Department of Public Works

Developments of Regional Impact

Executive Order

Production of affordable housing across a broad range of incomes 

Economic Assistance Coordinating Council

Economic Development Administration

Economic Development Council

Economic Development District

Economic Development Data and Information System

Economic Development and Industrial Corporation

Environmental Impact Report

Environmental Impact Statement

Environmental Justice

Environmental Notification Form

Economic Opportunity Area

Executive Office of Administration and Finance

Executive Office of Economic Affairs

Executive Office of Elder Affairs

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Site Assessment

Economic Target Area

Federal Aid

Functional Classification (of roadways)

Federal Housing Administration

Federal Highway Administration - An agency of the United States Department of Transportation that provides financial and technical support to each state for constructing, improving, and preserving America’s highway system.

Federal Highway Administration

Franklin Regional Council of Governments

Federal Transit Administration

Greenhouse Gas

Geographic Information System - A system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to the earth.

Geographic Information System

Global Positioning System

Housing Appeal Committee


Holyoke Community College

Housing Development Support Program

Housing Innovation Fund

Home Modification for Individuals with Disabilities Loan

Highway Overlay District

Historic Overlay District

Homeownership Opportunities Program

High Occupancy Vehicle

Housing Preservation Grant

Housing Production Plan

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Invitation for Bid

Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991

Intelligent Transportation Systems

Job Access and Reverse Commute

Jacob's Ladder Scenic Byway

Jacob's Ladder Trail

Joint Transportation Committee

Local Board(s) of Health

Limited English Proficiency

Local Housing Authority

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Level of Service

Local Option Transportation Tax

Local Pavement Management System

Light Rail Vehicle

Local Technical Assistance

Massachusetts General Laws

Hazardous waste cleanup regulations

Uniform procurement law for local governments


Planning/comprehensive permits

Smart growth zoning and housing production

Smart growth school cost reimbursement

Subdivision control

Expedited permitting

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Massachusetts Geographic Information System

Minority Business Enterprises

Massachusetts Development Finance Agency 

Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act

Massachusetts Geographic Information Council

Massachusetts Historical Commission 

Massachusetts Housing Partnership

Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency

Municipal Incentive Grant

Massachusetts Municipal Association

Memorandum of Agreement

Massachusetts Office of Business Development

Massachusetts Office on Disability

Memorandum of Understanding

Metropolitan Planning Organization

Metropolitan Planning Organization

Montachusett Regional Planning Commission

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices

Martha's Vineyard Commission

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

National Association of Regional Councils

New England Association of Regional Councils

Non-Federal Aid

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended)

National Highway System

Neighborhood Housing Services program

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Northern Middlesex Council of Governments

Nitrogen Oxide

Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Transportation Safety Board

Old Colony Planning Council

Overall Condition Index (Pavement)

Open Space and Recreation Plan

Pavement Condition Index

Priority Development Fund

Purchase of Development Rights

Peak Hour Traffic (or Trips)

Payment in Lieu of Taxes

[Metropolitan] Planning Funds

Pavement Management System 

Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area

Pavement Management Users Group

Planner on a Disc

Public Participation Process

Planned Unit Residential Development

Pioneer Valley Regional Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp.

Rental Development Action Loan

Regional Employment Board

Regional Education and Business Alliance

Regional Economic Models, Inc.

Request For Proposal

Request for Qualifications

Request for Response

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Roadway Inventory Files

Revolving Loan Fund

Regional Planning Agency

Regional Pavement Management System

Regional Transit Authority

Regional Technology Corporation

Regional Transportation Plan

Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users

Small Business Administration

Supplier Diversity Office 

State Implementation Plan (for air quality)

Sustainable Knowledge Corridor

Single Occupancy Vehicle

Special Permit

Special Permit Planning

Site Plan Review

Statewide Planning and Research Funds

Single Room Occupancy

Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District

Springfield Technical Community College

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program

Surface Transportation Program

Targeted Brownfields Assessment

Transportation and Community System Preservation [Pilot Program]

Transportation Demand Management

Transfer of Development Rights

Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century

Tax Increment Financing

Transportation Improvement Program

The Literacy Project

Turning Movement Count

Traditional Neighborhood District

Transit Oriented Design (or Development)

Transportation Research Board

Trip Reduction Ordinance

Transportation Systems Management

Urban Growth Boundary

Urban Land Institute

University of Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

Unified Planning Work Program

Urban Revitalization Development Grant

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Public Land Survey

Underground Storage Tanks

Vehicle Miles Traveled

Volatile Organic Compound

Vehicle Occupancy Rate

Ware Adult Learning Center

Weatherization Assistance Program

Women-owned Business Enterprises

Wellhead Protection Area

Western New England University

Water Quality Management Plan

Westfield River Watershed Association

Westfield River Wild & Scenic Advisory Committee

Water Supply Protection [District]

Westfield State University

Zoning Board of Adjustment (or Appeals)