May 6th Information & Resource Update

In this issue....

  • 495/MetroWest Employer Survey EXTENDED

  • EPA RDA Focus Group for 495/MetroWest Stakeholders

  • MERC to Host Annual Conference on May 30th

  • MassDOT Announces Extended Public Comment Period for Long-Range Transportation Plan

  • FY25 Community One Stop for Growth Application Now Open

  • Presentation on Outmigration Study on May 21st

  • MBTA Announces Half-Price Fares for all Transit Modes, Including Commuter Rail, for Low-Income Riders

  • MassDEP Reduce, Reuse, Repair Micro Grant Accepting Applications

  • We're Hiring! Manager of Research and Business Services

495/MetroWest Employer Survey EXTENDED

The 495/MetroWest Partnership invites business and organizational leaders from across our region to take part in our annual 495/MetroWest Employer Survey! We have extended the survey to May 17th.

This survey represents a collaborative effort between the 495/MetroWest Partnership and Framingham State University's MetroWest Economic Research Center (MERC). Over the past decade, this survey has proven an important tool in gauging business confidence in the 495/MetroWest region. Now being conducted for the 11th year running, the survey is an opportunity for our region’s employers to communicate concerns and challenges, which can guide policymakers in considering needed changes and investments. The survey is also an important tool in forecasting future growth by regional employers, and identifying warning signs of challenges to come.  

Your participation is greatly appreciated, and is leveraged to promote the region and to ensure its continued prosperity.

Click Here to Take the 495/MetroWest Employer Survey

Key survey details:

  • Who should take the survey? Owners, leaders, or individuals with regional hiring authority for private, public, or nongovernmental organizations that have a presence in the 495/MetroWest region.

  • This survey should only take about 5-7 minutes to complete.

  • Your individual responses are anonymous; your answers will be aggregated and reported with all responses.

Thank you for your assistance in continuing this important economic assessment tool for our region. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Executive Director Jason Palitsch via email at

EPA RDA Focus Group for 495/MetroWest Stakeholders

EPA Region 1 continues to work on the development of a permit, referred to as an “RDA Permit,” that will regulate stormwater run-off in the Charles, Mystic, and Neponset River Watersheds. This permit will apply to certain commercial, industrial, and institutional property owners with greater than 1 acre of “impervious cover,” a term which refers to those parts of properties, such as roofs and parking lots which allow rainwater (or “stormwater”) to carry pollutants into local rivers, lakes, and streams. The permit will require those private landowners to implement practices on their properties to control the release of stormwater coming from their properties.  

EPA is hosting a series of focus groups that will allow technical experts to share ideas about permit implementation challenges. These focus groups are a follow-on to the presentations EPA provided earlier this spring to a variety of groups; copies of the presentations can be found on EPA’s website.  

A focus group for 495/MetroWest Partnership stakeholders will be hosted virtually on June 12th. If you are interested in participating in the focus group on June 12th from 10 AM to 12:30 PM, click here to register. 

For more information on the development of this RDA permit, please see EPA’s website. If you would otherwise like to offer thoughts about the best ways to implement this permit, you may offer feedback directly to EPA at Questions regarding the focus group on June 12th may be directed to 495/MetroWest Partnership Executive Director  

MERC to Host Annual Conference on May 30th

Framingham State University's MetroWest Economic Research Center (MERC) will host their 31st Annual Conference, focusing on “From Challenges to Opportunities: Innovative Housing Solutions For Economic Prosperity.” The conference will feature a keynote address from Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Edward M. Augustus, Jr. 


The event will include a panel discussion with industry experts, moderated by Jason Palitsch, Executive Director of the 495/MetroWest Partnership. Panelists include:

  • Amy Dain, Consultant at Dain Research
  • Geoff Homoliski, Executive Vice President and Chief Leading Officer at Middlesex Savings Bank
  • Debbie Maruca Hoak, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity MW/Greater Worcester
  • Peter Matchak, Director of Planning for the Town of Ashland
  • Paige Roosa, Director of the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab in the City of Boston.


The conference will be held on Thursday, May 30th, at the McCarthy Center at Framingham State University from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Attendance is free, and lunch will be provided. Click here to register.

MassDOT Announces Extended Public

Comment Period for Long-Range Transportation Plan

Mass DOT has extended the public comment period for "Beyond Mobility," its draft long-range transportation plan, until May 31st. Stakeholders are urged to share their thoughts through an online survey, available at this link. Received feedback will be reviewed and considered for the final plan.

Beyond Mobility is a comprehensive project aimed at shaping transportation investments in Massachusetts to align with MassDOT’s objectives while enhancing system equity and resiliency. The project team has analyzed past plans, public feedback, and needs assessments to identify six focus areas for long-term development: safety, destination connectivity, travel experience, reliability, clean transportation support, and resiliency. Beyond mobility includes upwards of 100 action items categorized under these priority areas to guide future initiatives.

Click here to access additional information on Beyond Mobility.

FY25 Community One Stop for Growth Application Now Open

The Community One Stop for Growth is a centralized hub that streamlines the process of pursuing state funding for housing and economic development by allowing communities to be considered for multiple programs with one application. The program uses a collaborative review process, aiming to simplify applications and improve coordination among economic development programs and staff by providing direct referrals to programs that applicants otherwise may not be informed of.

Twelve programs will be administered through the FY25 round of Community One Stop for Growth. To apply for funding, applicants must submit a Full Application through the IGX system. Applications may begin working on applications now and will be accepted between May 6th and June 5th.

Click here for more information on the Community One Stop for Growth program.

Presentation on Outmigration Study on May 21st

The Pioneer Institute will host a webinar on Tuesday, May 21st, at 2:00 PM focused on a new study on outmigration in Massachusetts from Boston University. The event will feature an interview with Boston University's Mark Williams—leader of the nine-month research project.

Click here to access the details of the study. Click here to register for the webinar on May 21st

MBTA Announces Half-Price Fares for All Transit Modes, Including Commuter Rail, for Low-Income Riders

In March, the MBTA announced that starting this summer, it will be offering half-priced fares on all modes of transit for low-income riders. All tickets and passes will be discounted by 50% for eligible riders.

Adults between the ages of 26 and 64 who earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level will qualify for the half-priced fares. In 2024, the federal poverty level is about $30,120 annually for a single person or $62,400 for a family of four.

An online application will become available for interested applicants, and the MBTA will partner with local community groups to help reduce the barriers for completing the application.

MassDEP Reduce, Reuse, Repair Micro Grant Accepting Applications

MassDEP is accepting applications for the first round of 2024 Reduce, Reuse, Repair Micro-Grants. The program provides awards of up to $10,000 for projects that focus on waste reduction and product longevity through donation, reuse, rescue, or repair efforts. 

Eligible applicants include for-profit and non-profit organizations, regional authorities, municipalities, and educational institutions. Projects must be based in Massachusetts and have a completion timeline of one year or less. Composting and recycling projects are not eligible. To view additional grant guidelines, click here

All grant applicants must submit their applications by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, May 15th. Award decisions will be made within one month of the deadline. MassDEP will begin accepting round two applications on October 1st, 2024. Click here to access the grant application

We're Hiring! Manager of Research and Business Services

The 495/MetroWest Partnership is hiring!

We are seeking a full-time Manager of Research and Business Services, who will handle diverse responsibilities related to economic development, as well as research to support public policy related to economic development (transit, regional infrastructure, workforce development, water resources, and housing). The incumbent will lead research processes including collecting data for regional and local economic profiles, analyzing pending legislation and regulations, and monitoring organizational priorities in various planning processes. The incumbent will also conduct outreach to small and mid-sized businesses in the region, and provide technical assistance and other supportive services to these businesses while involving them in Partnership initiatives. 

Click here to access the complete position posting.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.
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