Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $850,000 in Community Compact Grants
Second round of Efficiency and Regionalization Grants awarded to 38 communities
The Baker-Polito Administration awarded over $850,000 in Community Compact Cabinet grants to 38 municipalities and 8 school districts across the Commonwealth. These grants will assist municipalities in exploring and implementing efficiency and regionalization initiatives. In December, the administration awarded more than $1 million to over 70 municipalities during the first round of Community Compact Cabinet’s efficiency and regionalization grants.
“Our administration formed the Community Compact Cabinet, led by Lieutenant Governor Polito, to solidify state government’s role as a reliable partner for cities and towns,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to announce the second round of grants to help cities, towns, and school districts from across the Commonwealth work together on improving their regionalization and efficiency efforts to better serve their residents.”
“We are pleased to continue supporting our municipalities through this effective grant program,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Community Compact Cabinet. “As former local officials, Governor Baker and I understand the importance of maintaining strong relationships with our 351 cities and towns and we believe these grants will increase efficiencies and maximize taxpayer dollars to make every corner of the Commonwealth a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
“Supporting our cities and towns and giving them the tools to best deliver services has been a priority since the administration has taken office,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore. “The $2 million in regionalization and efficiency grants awarded over the last four months will help the Commonwealth’s cities and towns better serve their communities in a more efficient way, and I am pleased that we once again are able to provide this important funding.”
The Community Compact Cabinet’s Efficiency & Regionalization grant program is a new initiative for Fiscal Year 2017 that provides financial support for governmental entities interested in implementing regionalization and other efficiency initiatives that allow for long-term sustainability. The grants will provide funds for one-time or transition costs for municipalities, regional school districts, school districts considering forming a regional school district or regionalizing services, regional planning agencies and councils of governments interested in such projects.
The Governor’s FY18 budget proposal filed in January, 2017 includes $2 million for the Community Compact Best Practices program and $2 million to continue supporting these thoughtful efficiency and regionalization grants. Also previously announced, the Governor’s third capital budget, released this upcoming spring, will provide another $2 million for the Community Compact IT Grant program.
Regionalization / Shared Services
- Rural Economic Development Planning (Chester, Blandford, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, and Russell) - $100,511
- Joint Economic Development (Boston, Braintree, Cambridge, Chelsea, Quincy and Somerville) - $100,000
- Shared Town Administrator (Lenox and Lee) - $86,000
- Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) On-line Permitting Platform and Shared Permit Data Standard (Ayer, Milton, North Reading, Westborough) - $70,619
- Regional Animal Control (Fitchburg, Lunenburg, Townsend) - $42,257
- Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) Economic Development Planning Services (Clarksburg, Great Barrington, Hinsdale, and Lanesborough) - $22,735
Municipal / School Shared Services
- Wareham Town and School HR Functions - $72,499
- Carver Town and School Facilities Department - $41,500
- Easthampton City and School IT Department Consolidation - $38,000
- Southbridge Town and School Facilities Management Team - $35,000
- Norwell Town Hall and School Administration Building Consolidation - $25,000
- Exploration of further consolidation of the Quabbin Regional School District - $100,000
- Exploration of further school regionalization (Orange Elementary School District and Petersham Center School District to the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District) - $53,000
- Exploration of forming a Regionalization School District (Acushnet Public Schools and Fairhaven Public Schools) - $40,000
- Exploration of further consolidation of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District - $28,000
About the Community Compact Cabinet:
Formed in January 2015, the Community Compact Cabinet is chaired by Lt. Governor Polito and comprised of the secretaries of Housing & Economic Development, Education, Transportation, and Energy & Environmental Affairs, the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services, the Assistant Secretary of Operational Services, and the Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth. The Community Compact Cabinet elevates the Administration’s partnerships with cities and towns, and allows the Governor’s Office to work more closely with leaders from all municipalities. The Cabinet champions municipal interests across all executive secretariats and agencies, and develops, in consultation with cities and towns, mutual standards and best practices for both the state and municipalities. The creation of Community Compacts creates clear standards, expectations and accountability for both partners.
As of today, 266 compacts have been signed.
Governor Baker, MBTA Celebrate Expansion of The RIDE’s On-Demand Paratransit Service
As pilot celebrates 10,000 rides, MBTA extends participation to all RIDE users effective March 1st
Governor Charlie Baker and MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve celebrated 10,000 rides in the MBTA’s The RIDE On-Demand Paratransit Pilot Program with ride-share companies Uber and Lyft, and announced that effective March 1st, the program will be open to all eligible users of The RIDE. Launched in September 2016, the first-of-its-kind innovative pilot has expanded options for 400 customers with disabilities, providing improved flexibility and mobility while reducing fares and overall program costs.
“The success of this partnership with ride-share companies is changing lives and improving reliability for the MBTA’s paratransit customers who rely on The RIDE for their daily travels,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud the MBTA is expanding this program to all users of The RIDE, and providing individuals with disabilities greater flexibility and convenience that many of us may take for granted.”;
Governor Baker highlighted the program’s ingenuity in his 2017 State of the Commonwealth Address last month, sharing the story of a pilot user and the benefits and flexibility the program has offered to customers. The on-demand pilot operates in conjunction with traditional RIDE service, offering reduced fares, lower wait times, faster trips without the need to share rides, and same-day booking (compared to The RIDE’s day prior notice) for RIDE service areas and hours of operation. The program includes options for wheel-chair accessible vehicles and includes access for MBTA paratransit customers without smartphones.
“The partnership with these two ride-share companies has been a game-changer for our paratransit customers,” said Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack. “;They have been able to take advantage of transit options which allow them to be spontaneous and travel directly to their destinations. We believe the success of this partnership with Lyft and Uber will serve as a springboard for more performance-driven improvements."
“This is a win-win solution for our Riders and the MBTA,” said Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. “It’s an example of a way we can partner with best-in-class private companies to drive innovation at the MBTA.”;
Governor Baker and Acting General Manager Shortsleeve celebrated the announcement at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where pilot user Joshua Boissoneau is an employee. A para-rower, Paralympic hopeful and RIDE user since 2015, Boissoneau joined the pilot in October 2016 and uses the on-demand service an average of six or more times a week to travel to his office, medical appointments and rowing practices along the Charles River from Brighton.
“Since my first day in the pilot program, I have shared with fellow rowers and friends how impressed I was with the benefits of the program, including reliability, user-friendliness, comfort, convenience and timing,” said Joshua Boissoneau. “The on-demand service has alleviated stress in getting to my medical appointments, work and practice in a timely way. I look forward to remaining an active participant.”;
On-demand trips cost customers $2.00, with the MBTA subsidizing the next $13.00 and additional costs being assumed by the customer. The model resulted in an MBTA trip subsidy difference of 71% between traditional RIDE and on-demand trip costs ($9 for on-demand versus $31 using traditional RIDE). The average cost to the customer was found to be $4.38 for a same-day trip (versus $5.25 using traditional RIDE) with customers saving an average of 34 minutes with every pilot trip taken.
From October 2016 to February 2017, traditional RIDE trips reduced by 18% while total trips taken by the MBTA’s paratransit users (traditional RIDE and on-demand pilot combined) increased by 28%. The overall cost to the MBTA (traditional RIDE versus a combination of on-demand service and traditional RIDE) decreased by 6%. Expanding the pilot is anticipated to increase savings to the MBTA and allow full-scale testing of key pilot elements.
Customers interested in applying to the expanded pilot can learn more and be directed to sign up for Uber or Lyft accounts at www.mbta.com/paratransitpilot. After the MBTA verifies customer eligibility, further instructions and access to the program will be sent via e-mail from Uber or Lyft within 1-2 weeks of sign-up. Once contacted by Uber or Lyft, customers can book trips via a smartphone mobile app. Lyft also has a phone call-in option and a limited number of Uber customers can utilize Uber-provided smartphones for use on a limited basis specifically to book trips.
The pilot is a part of a larger transformation of the RIDE to improve the customer experience and reduce the cost of service. Other initiatives include centralizing its call and dispatch functions and soon offering a revamped taxi subsidy pilot.
For more information regarding the pilot, please visit www.mbta.com/paratransitpilot.