Attendees of the Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) Legislative Breakfast heard from four state legislators over quiche and coffee at the Lexington Community Center on Friday, May 3.
MAGIC, one of MAPC’s eight subregions, is a group of 13 communities northwest of Boston: Acton, Bedford, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, and Sudbury. The group provides a forum for member communities to exchange ideas, pursue regional projects, and to learn and share information about local and regional issues.
The annual breakfast gives local officials and municipal staff the chance to hear about their legislators’ policy and budget priorities, share their own concerns, and ask questions. This year, they were joined by Senator Michael Barrett and Representatives Jennifer Benson, Michelle Ciccolo, and Tami Gouveia.
MAPC’s Executive Director Marc Draisen kicked off the breakfast by summarizing several of MAPC’s legislative priorities, including the importance of District Local Technical Assistance funding, increasing the Community Preservation Act match, regional ballot initiatives, housing choice, and Green Communities Plus.
The four legislators followed Draisen’s remarks by detailing their own bills and priorities, many focusing on clean energy and transportation issues.
- Rep. Ciccolo – MAPC’s former president, who was elected to her seat in November - highlighted her Master Plan bill (H.180) and her transit improvement legislation (H.2983), which would generate operating funds for transit improvement programs.
- Rep. Gouveia – also elected in November – spoke about healthcare access, climate change, the importance of funding public transit, and her legislation establishing a net zero energy code.
- Rep. Benson emphasized carbon pricing, reducing healthcare costs, education, and the environmental budget as key areas she’s addressing. Her carbon pricing bill (H.1726) allocates money to transportation, green housing, and affordable housing for gateway cities and other communities in need.
- Sen. Barrett spoke about the importance of reducing emissions in the transportation, building, and heating sectors.
A Q&A period followed, during which attendees and legislators talked about how the Legislature can address legislation and issues that straddle different committee topic areas and think holistically about how transportation, climate change, housing, and economic development intersect and work with each other; as well as how citizens can advocate for environmental and clean energy policies.
District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) Projects in MAGIC
MAPC is currently working with MAGIC communities on the following projects:
- Concord Cooler Communities: This project will primarily develop a Carbon Calculator tool which will help create greater data transparency and tracking via a web-based carbon prints estimation tool.
- Lincoln eTOD: MAPC is currently drafting zoning language for a new Village District in Lincoln’s station area. The new district will enabled mixed-use projects and increased housing density to support a vibrant village center. The draft language and design guidelines will be presented to the community at a public forum this spring.
- Maynard and Acton Powdermill Road Corridor Project: The Powdermill Road Corridor is a 1.5 mile corridor in Maynard and Acton. On the Maynard side, the corridor connects to the vibrant downtown; on the Acton side, the corridor connects to a strip shopping area southwest of its Technology District. This project will produce a redevelopment plan that supports further connectivity, promotes safe pedestrian and bicyclist activity, supports vibrant businesses and employment opportunities, and increases residential area bike and sidewalk connections to surrounding businesses and amenities and to the Assabet River.
- Regional Complete Streets Sign Procurement (with Acton): The use of collective purchasing agreements can save communities money and time when purchasing Complete Street signage like flashing crosswalk, speed feedback, and electronic school zone signs.