Legislative Priorities


Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration

The Government Affairs team works to promote smart growth goals at the local, regional, state, and federal levels.

MAPC actively promotes its legislative agenda by working with members of the Legislature on a number of key initiatives. MAPC's priorities come from a variety of policy areas, with a focus on sustainable development initiatives and municipal relief measures to help cities and towns continue to provide quality services with efficiency.

The team works in collaboration with the MAPC Legislative Committee to develop action items and to advocate on behalf of the members of our regional community. The Committee includes municipal leaders from cities and towns in the MAPC region as well as members of advocacy organizations we work with closely.


For more information about MAPC's legislative and budget priorities or the MAPC Legislative Committee, contact Government Affairs Director Lizzi Weyant at 617-933-0703 or

Recent News

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January 7, 2021

End-of-Session Legislation: How MAPC’s Priorities Fared On Tuesday night, the 191st General Court concluded its legislative session. While the legislature […]

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Photo Credit John Wilcox Call to Action: Transportation & Climate Initiative In New England, transportation is responsible for over 40% […]

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The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) issued the following statement today after four jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, agreed to establish a […]

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December 18, 2020

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and more than 50 Massachusetts municipal leaders today are calling on State House leadership to […]

Legislative Priorities

State Budget

District Local Technical Assistance

District Local Technical Assistance, or “DLTA” funds, are state grants distributed among the state’s 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) – including MAPC -- to provide cities and towns with money and technical staff to work on projects related to regional collaboration, economic development, zoning, and protecting the environment. Past DLTA grants have funded projects in disciplines as diverse as public health, fire safety, emergency dispatch, special education, emergency medical services, and disaster planning.

Year after year, DLTA project requests exceed the available funding from the state. Last year, MAPC received requests for double the amount of funds available. DLTA was funded at just $2.8 million in the last four budgets, beginning in Fiscal 2014. This year, we are requesting that DLTA be funded at $3.4 million to allow the MAPC and other RPAs to continue providing a wide range of services that member municipalities require.

Community Safety Initiative

Senator Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative (Shannon Grant)

Since 2006, the Commonwealth has used this grant program to fund regional strategies to combat youth violence, gang violence, and substance abuse. By regional we mean that groups of municipalities work together on anti-violence strategies, and by multi-disciplinary we mean that all departments in law enforcement and prevention work together to achieve a common goal. It is this emphasis on a regional, multi-disciplinary approach that sets Shannon Grants apart from other efforts to fund local law enforcement or prevention programs. From a high of $13 million, the program was reduced to $4.5 million during the recession. After steadily increasing to $8.25 million, the program was only funded at $6 million last year. We are requesting an increase to $10 million in FY2018.

Legislative Priorities


Accessible, frequent, and fast public transit gets people to their destinations without contributing to traffic. Connected, well-maintained, and extensive roads, trails, bike lanes, and sidewalks encourage active transportation, health, and recreation. Making our entire transportation system safe, comfortable, and accessible for users of all ages, abilities, income, and travel modes leads to healthier and stronger communities.

Regional Transportation Ballot Initiatives

Bills filed by Senator Eric Lesser (S.1694) and Representatives Adrian Madaro and Andres Vargas (H.2653)

"An act relative to regional transportation ballot initiatives" would enable a municipality, or a group of municipalities as a district, to raise additional local money for transportation projects, operations, or transit-oriented development via ballot initiatives. A supplement to other state and federal transportation revenue, these funds would give voters a more direct role in the process and show a clearer correlation between revenue and transportation projects. In states that allow these initiatives, there is an average 70-80% success rate.

Local Infrastructure Development Program

Bills filed by Senator Adam Hinds (S.1189) and Representative Christine Barber (H.1759)

"An act to improve the local infrastructure development program" amends an existing provision that allows property owners to finance public infrastructure improvements with tax-exempt bonds. This update reduces approval thresholds from their current level of 100%, allows for greater role for municipalities in the creation and management of districts,and clarifies language to ensure investments prioritize smart growth principles.

Transportation Network Companies

Bills filed by Senator Brendan Crighton (S.2063) and Representatives Jay Livingstone & Adrian Madaro (H.1039)

"An act to reduce traffic and encourage shared rides" and "An act to reduce congestion and encourage shared rides" codify a process for capturing increased value along transportation corridors for transit, roadway, and TOD development. This act would increase the current surcharge on Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft, bringing Massachusetts into parity with other cities and states nationwide, and encourage shared trips in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility.

Value Capture

Bill filed by Representative William Straus (H.3146)

"An act relative to transportation value capture" allows for the increased land value created by a transportation project to be used to fund that project directly. This is a tool not currently available in Massachusetts, but it is one that is used all across the country to finance transportation investments.

Legislative Priorities

Housing and Zoning

Access to market rate and affordable housing is one of the most pressing topics discussed across our region. If we do not address our present and looming housing crisis, we will lose our economic competitiveness. At the same time, we are eager for cities and towns to achieve a series of modern zoning and permitting tools that can help them plan for the future in a proactive manner and to mitigate the legitimate impacts of growth.

Housing Choice

Bill filed by Governor Baker (H.3507)

The Governor’s Housing Choice bill eliminates barriers to building new housing and improving land use without mandating that cities and towns adopt any specific zoning practices by lowering the voting threshold for some zoning measures from a super majority of 2/3 to a simple majority. Massachusetts is the only northeastern state—and one of only 10 nationwide—to require a supermajority.

Accessory Dwelling Units

Bills filed by Senator Julian Cyr (S.788) and Representative Stephen Hay (H.1277)

At a time when the average household size is falling, many single-family neighborhoods have homes that are too large for present needs. Currently, local zoning makes it difficult for residents to adapt their homes by adding an accessory unit for relatives or to rent.

"An act promoting accessory dwelling units as housing options" and "An act promoting accessory dwelling units" would make it easier for municipalities to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within the main structure of a single-family dwelling, as long as they meet certain requirements.

Community Preservation Act

Bills filed by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (S.1618) and Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante (H.1289)

The Community Preservation Act allows communities who gain approval from a local ballot initiative to impose a one to three percent surcharge on property tax bills to fund historic preservation, open space, recreation, and affordable housing projects. These communities receive a matching contribution from the CPA trust fund. "An act to preserve community preservation revenue" and "An act to sustain community preservation revenue" call on DOR to calculate the fee that would be needed so that all CPA communities would receive at least a 50% first round distribution, to address the continual drop in the state’s match to the trust fund.

Right to Counsel

Bills filed Senator Sal DiDomenico (S.913), Representative Chynah Tyler (H.3456), and Representative Dave Rogers (H.1537)

"An act to ensure right to counsel in eviction proceedings" would give low-income tenants in certain eviction cases the right to an attorney who can represent them.

Right of First Refusal

Bill filed by Representative Daniel Cullinane (H.1260)

To prevent the displacement that occurs when properties are foreclosed or subject to short sale, "An act to guarantee a tenant's first right of refusal" gives tenants in these properties a right to purchase the property or assign their right to purchase to a non-profit developer.

Legislative Priorities

Climate and Clean Energy

Massachusetts is a leader in clean energy - a win not only for our state's economy but also for our planet - and our cities and towns are at the front lines of that effort. In order to lessen the magnitude and impacts of climate change, we must cut carbon emissions by phasing out fossil fuels, switching to low- or zero-carbon energy sources, and increasing energy efficiency.

Green Plus Communities

Bills filed by Senator Jason Lewis (S.1987) and Representative Carolyn Dykema (H.2841)

Building on the successful Green Communities program that more than half of MA municipalities have adopted, "An act to expand the green communities program to mitigate climate change" creates a new designation - "Green Plus" - which focuses local efforts on greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Property Assessed Clean Energy

Bills filed by Senator Brendan Crighton (S.1941) and Representative Mark Cusack (H.2831)

"An act authorizing resiliency measures under Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy" would expand the C-PACE program to allow property owners to finance three additional clean energy technologies: microgrids, district heating and cooling, and energy storage systems.

Utility Rates

Bills filed by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (S.1938) and Representative Jennifer Benson (H.2806)

"An act to establish rate options to reduce customer costs and lower peak demand" would require utilities to offer rates that give customers the opportunity to save money by shifting usage away from peak times and help incentivize electric vehicles, storage, and smart appliances.

Grid Modernization

Bills filed by Senator Joanne Comerford (S.1932) and Representative Jennifer Benson (H.2808)

"An act promoting local energy investment and infrastructure modernization" would require accountability, transparency and creating a timeline for advanced metering as well as a requirement to use local clean energy resources.

Home Energy Efficiency

Bills filed by Senator Eric Lesser (S.1983) and Representative Adrian Madaro (H.2887)

"An act related to home energy efficiency" requires energy audits through the MassSave program with no additional fees imposed or collected in connection with the audit and scores on all homes available at the time of listing for sale.

Carbon Pricing and Transportation Climate Initiative

For over a decade, Massachusetts has been pricing carbon within the electricity sector through a cap-and-trade program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. But the power sector in Massachusetts accounts for only 20 percent of the state's emissions.  The remaining 80 percent comes from sources not covered under RGGI––such as heating fuels, transportation, construction, and manufacturing. MAPC supports requiring the Commonwealth to set an economy-wide price on carbon emissions at a sufficient level to have a significant impact on advancing our climate mitigation goals.

To that end, MAPC is supportive of the Transportation Climate Initiative. In December 2018, Massachusetts joined with eight Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states plus the District of Columbia to take a collaborative regional approach to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. This initiative is patterned on the decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which reduces carbon emissions from the electricity sector.

Legislative Priorities

Public Health

MAPC was deeply involved in the development of the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan, which was adopted in December 2015. Looking ahead to this legislative session, we want to support those legislative priorities that will help to facilitate access to healthy foods (particularly for underserved communities) and make other advancements in public health for all of the people of the Commonwealth

Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund

Bills filed by Senators Jason Lewis, Harriette Chandler, and James Welch (S.1293) and Representatives Aaron Vega and Tackey Chan (H.2012)

"An Act to promote public health through the prevention and wellness trust fund" reinstates the PWTF to reinvest in four critical public health areas: pediatric asthma, hypertension, tobacco use, and falls among older adults. The bill funds the PWTF through a combination of marijuana revenue and a modest assessment on health insurers.

Breakfast After the Bell

Bills filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (S.267) and Representatives Aaron Vega and Andres Vargas (H.591)

The stigma of the breakfast program being for ‘poor kids’ and the logistical challenges of getting to school early keep students from participating in before-the-bell breakfast programs. "An act regarding breakfast after the bell" would provide breakfast to all children in schools where 60 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Healthy Incentives Program

Bills filed by Senator Anne Gobi (S.48) and Representative Paul Mark (H.145)

The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) doubles SNAP recipients’ purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers at farmers markets, farm stands, and community-supported agriculture programs, improving health outcomes for low-income communities and increasing sales for local farms. "An act relative to an agricultural healthy incentives program" will increase funding for HIP and establish the framework for the program’s long-term sustainability.

Addressing the SNAP Gap

Bills filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (S.678) and Representative Jay Livingstone (H.1173)

An Act improving public health through a common application for core food, health and safety-net programs” creates a common application for people who qualify for state benefits. Allowing people to simultaneously apply for income support and benefit programs will help to ensure that more people receive the benefits for which they are eligible.

School Lunch Debt

Bills filed by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (S.257) and Representative Andres Vargas (H.584)

Meal-shaming, the practice of publicly embarrassing school children with outstanding lunch debt, still exists in Massachusetts today. "An Act to expand access to school meals" would end this practice, and urge school districts and parents to resolve outstanding lunch debt without involving the student.

Legislative Priorities

Other Priorities

Work and Family Mobiliy

Bills filed by Senator Brendan Crighton (S.2061) and Representatives Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Christine Barber (H.3012)

"An act relative to work and family mobility" would allow Massachusetts to issue state identificationincluding driver's licensesto any applicant regardless of immigration status

Tuition Equity

Bills filed by Senator Harriette Chandler (S.739) and Representative Michael Moran (H.1237)

"An act to ensure tuition equity for Massachusetts residents" would allow undocumented students to be eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

Fair Housing

Bills filed by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (S.781) and Representative Christine Barber (H.1344)

Discriminatory zoning by-laws and ordinances should be prohibited. "An act promoting fair housing by preventing discrimination against affordable housing" would make such policies illegal.


Bills filed by Senator Nick Collins (S.2049) and Representative Adrian Madaro (H.3073)

"An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters" balances the need to provide micromobility technologies to consumers, while ensuring appropriate local regulation and oversight.

Sugary Drink Tax

Bills filed by Senator Jason Lewis (S.1709) and Representative Kay Khan (H.2529)

"An act to reduce consumption of sugar by raising a significant increase in excise taxes on sugary drinks" funds access to safe drinking water, the Prevention and Wellness Trust, and other programs through a tiered tax based on the amount of sugar in sugary drinks.

The Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MARPA) is a coalition of the 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) throughout the Commonwealth, including MAPC, that aims to strengthen regionalization and municipal collaboration throughout Massachusetts. MARPA meets monthly at MAPC’s Boston offices and hosts an annual conference at varying locations around the state. For more information, contact a member of MAPC’s Government Affairs staff.

The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA) promotes healthy and diverse communities, protects critical environmental resources and working landscapes, advocates for housing and transportation choices, and supports equitable community development and urban reinvestment. MAPC is a member of MSGA. For more, visit

Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) is a diverse coalition of organizations working together to create safe, convenient, and affordable transportation for everyone. T4MA, of which MAPC is a member, advocates for transportation funds to be spent fairly and responsibly, for transportation decisions that are transparent and accountable, and to ensure that our transportation network has sufficient resources to meet tomorrow’s needs all throughout the Commonwealth. For more, visit

The Metropolitan Mayors Coalition (MMC) is a group of cities in towns in the urban core of Metro Boston whose leaders gather to exchange information and create solutions for common problems. The municipal officials in this group represent more than 1.4 million constituents, and represent Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Melrose, Medford, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop. MAPC facilitates and staff the work of the MMC.

The North Shore Coalition is a group of 18 cities and towns on the North Shore, facilitated by MAPC staff. The Coalition is a voluntary forum where municipal leaders share information and solutions to common problems particular to the North Shore region. The municipal officials in this group represent nearly 400,000 residents from Beverly, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Lynn, Manchester-by-the-sea, Marblehead, Middleton, Nahant, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, and Wenham.



Keith Bergman

Gubernatorial Appointees

Robert Cohen
Sam Wong

Feb. 28, 2018. Boston, MA.
MAPC Winter Council Meetining 2018.
Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
© 2018 Marilyn Humphries

Meeting Schedule

All meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at MAPC’s offices, 60 Temple Place in Boston.


Charlie Aspinwall, TRIC
Richard Canale, MAGIC
Michelle Ciccolo, MAGIC
Buzz Constable, MAGIC
Jen Constable, SSC
Eileen Gibbs, MWRC
Lou Gitto, TRIC

Katie King, ICC
Steve Magoon, ICC
Steve Olanoff, TRIC
Grace Shepard, SWAP
Brian Szekely, NSPC
Paul Yorkis, SWAP

9:00 am Winter Council Meeting (Final da... @ Zoom Video Conference and Streaming via Youtube
Winter Council Meeting (Final da... @ Zoom Video Conference and Streaming via Youtube
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
WINTER COUNCIL Wednesday, March 3, 2021 (Final date TBD) Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Final time TBD) Notice of Meeting & Agenda The Winter Council Meeting is being conducted remotely via Zoom video conference[...]

MAPC | Government Affairs Team

National Coalitions

The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s regional development organizations. The association and its members promote regional strategies, partnerships, and solutions to strengthen the economic competitiveness and quality of life across America’s local communities. For more, visit

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regionalism by advocating for regional cooperation as the most effective way to address a variety of community planning and development opportunities and issues. NARC’s member organizations are composed of multiple local governments that work together to serve American communities large and small and urban and rural. For more, visit

Transportation for America (T4A) is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions. These are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity. For more, visit

Smart Growth America advocates for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods. Smart Growth America believes smart growth solutions support thriving businesses and jobs, provide more options for how people get around and make it more affordable to live near work and the grocery store. Smart Growth America works with communities to fight sprawl and save money. For more, visit