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Massachusetts Department of Transporatation Massachusetts Bay Transporatation Authority
Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative

Programs

Technical Assistance

Background

In fall 2010, Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order 525 providing for the implementation of the South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan and Corridor Map through state agency actions and investments. To implement the Corridor Plan, cities and towns are taking local actions that encourage appropriate development and protection areas – known as Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and Priority Protection Areas (PPAs). In 2013, three regional planning agencies – the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SPREDD), the Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) – collaborated on a 5-Year Update to the PDAs and PPAs in each of the 31 South Coast Rail corridor communities.

The Technical Assistance program provides 31 communities with the resources to realize the goals they developed in the following areas:

  • Community planning and economic development districts
  • Housing development districts and plans
  • Open space preservation
  • Low Impact Development (LID)
  • Renewable energy
  • Transportation
  • Station area planning and zoning

Grants Awarded

For seven years, MassDOT and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) have awarded Technical Assistance grants to South Coast cities and towns. The grants consist of nearly $300,000 each year, totaling nearly $1.7 million to date. MassDOT and EOHED plan to continue this program through the start of South Coast Rail service. The proposals are developed by the communities with assistance from the regional planning agencies (RPAs) serving the South Coast.  The RPAs assist the communities in implementing their projects. The regional planning agencies are Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (SRPEDD), Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC) and Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Cities and towns can apply for up to two projects, which must be completed by the end of the fiscal year. Emphasis is placed on proposals to advance the Corridor Plan, its PDA/PPA designations and the state’s Sustainable Development Principles, and proposals that demonstrate a clear and achievable outcome.

Almost every corridor community has taken advantage of the TA program. The grants cover a wide range of local issues, including:

  • Work on housing production plans in Dartmouth, Lakeville, Mattapoisett, Rochester and Seekonk
  • An open space plan in North Attleboro
  • A bicycle and pedestrian path for Acushnet, Fairhaven and New Bedford along the Acushnet River
  • Zoning and bylaw work for Mansfield, Fairhaven, Westport, Berkley, Rehoboth and Dighton
  • Bicycle and pedestrian planning for Easton
  • Station area planning, including TOD planning, for Easton, Fall River, Freetown, Middleborough, New Bedford, Raynham, Stoughton and Taunton
  • Redesign of the dangerous “octopus” intersection and TOD planning for New Bedford
  • Renderings for the areas around stations in Fall River
  • Master Plan development for North Attleboro
  • A market analysis for Acushnet and market feasibility study for specific parcels in Raynham
  • Development and land use planning for Somerset and Westport
  • Affordable housing workshops in Dartmouth, Rochester, Seekonk and Wareham
  • Sewer and water issues workshop to support growth in areas planned for economic and housing development in Fairhaven, Lakeville, Sharon, Swansea and Westport
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