SECTION 1. Chapter 6C of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 official edition, is hereby amended by adding after section 10, the following new section:
Section 10A. Metropolitan planning organizations
1. Whereas: The rapid growth in recent decades of many geographic regions of the state has caused distinct areas with dense residential or workforce populations and substantial economic activity to be subject to the jurisdiction of more than one metropolitan planning organization;
Whereas: Various transportation projects may cross from the jurisdiction of one metropolitan planning organization into the jurisdiction of another metropolitan planning organization;
Whereas: Distinct areas of dense residential or workforce populations and substantial economic activity may be contained within the jurisdiction of a single metropolitan planning organization but have specific, substantial and locally based needs for public infrastructure investment to maintain economic vitality which require planning efforts focused on the distinct area;
Therefore: To more fully accomplish a comprehensive and coordinated intermodal transportation plan for the commonwealth, the secretary of transportation, in consultation with the secretary of housing and economic development, shall develop coordination mechanisms for both sub-regional and joint transportation planning by metropolitan planning organizations in order to better maintain, expand and improve transportation within the state.
2. The secretary of transportation at the request of a municipality or, on his own initiative, may, in consultation with the secretary of housing and economic development, identify distinct geographic areas of economic activity wherein transportation planning for a sub-region of one or more metropolitan planning organizations would provide more complete and accurate information for the development of a comprehensive and coordinated transportation plan for the commonwealth. Identification of cities and towns to be included in a sub-region shall include, but not be limited to, consideration of:
a. Proximity to the boundary of the jurisdiction of one or more metropolitan planning organizations;
b. The existence of major roadways and limited access highways;
c. Regional commuting patterns;
d. The region’s economic and industrial base and leading industry clusters, cultural assets and demographic characteristics, including its social and economic cohesiveness;
e. Permitting activity and plans for land use changes that require investment in public transportation infrastructure;
f. Information from the region's local officials and leading employers that assesses the state of the region's competitiveness and key obstacles to economic growth;
g. A request by a municipality to join with others to form a sub-region;
h. Evidence of unmet need for transportation planning and investment.
3. Where the municipalities identified by the secretary of transportation are all contained within the jurisdiction of a single metropolitan planning organization, that metropolitan planning organization shall designate a sub-region to plan and program transportation projects in the identified communities. Where the municipalities identified by the secretary are contained within the jurisdiction of more than one metropolitan planning organization, those metropolitan planning organizations whose districts include the municipalities identified for inclusion in a sub-region shall enter into an agreement to act jointly to plan and program transportation projects in the identified communities. The transportation improvement plan developed by any sub-region shall be provided to the department of transportation for inclusion in the state transportation improvement plan.
4. Planning and programming for a sub-region shall be conducted by a planning committee consisting of the secretary of department of transportation; the secretary of housing and economic development; the commissioner of the Massachusetts highway department; the director of the regional planning agencies with jurisdiction over the municipalities in the sub-region; the regional transit authorities serving municipalities in the sub-region; freight rail companies operating in the sub-region; a representative of each municipality in the sub-region; a representative of a business association representing major employers in the sub- region. The secretary of transportation or the secretary’s designee and the secretary of housing and economic development or the secretary’s designee shall jointly chair the committee.
5. Funds to be programmed by the planning committee shall be a portion of the allocation of federal funds available to the metropolitan planning organizations to which the municipalities of the sub-region belong together with other funds that may be designated by the secretary of transportation. The secretary of transportation shall develop a formula for determining the appropriate allocation. In determining the formula, the secretary of shall include consideration of the following: economic activity in the sub-region, including payroll and data relating to workforce size; data from the most recent census regarding commuting patterns; planned land development including development permissible under any municipality master plans and zoning regulations; existing transportation infrastructure.
6. The metropolitan planning organizations to which the municipalities of the sub-region belong shall contract with the regional planning agencies which serve the municipalities in the sub-region to accomplish the transportation planning and programming duties and administrative functions of the sub-region.
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