Rail Trail Acronyms

Glossary of Rail-Trail-Related Acronyms

ADA Americans with Disabilities Act. Rail trails must meet the requirements of ADA unless a special waiver is approved.

APM Asset Performance Management. Consultants to EOT concerning management of their property. Perform deed research for rail-trail properties. All requests for access to EOT-owned property for clearing or construction are handled by APM who generates draft agreements. The 2005 key APM contact with regard to rail trails is Claire Connelly.

ARRT Assabet River Rail Trail. This trail is under construction from Marlboro through Hudson. The goal is to extend the trail through Stow and Maynard to the rail station in South Acton along the old Marlboro-South Acton rail line.

BFRT Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Sometimes called the Bruce N. Freeman Memorial Bicycle Path. This proposed trail along the old Framingham & Lowell Railroad bed would extend from Route 9 to Lowell. Development of the trail is split into three phases with construction of the Phase 1 from Lowell through Chelmsford and Westford expected to be started in late 2006 or early 2007.

CMAQ Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality. This is one of two programs within ISTEA, TEA-21 and the proposed follow-on programs that is a potential source for rail-trail funding. CMAQ funding requires a 20% combined state and local match. In Massachusetts, generally the split is 10% state and 10% local. CMAQ trail projects must provide a net reduction of VMT. The other source of federal transportation funding for rail trails is the “Transportation Enhancements” (no acronym). Under this latter source of funding, the project must have a “functional” relationship to surface transportation. Most rail trails are funded through Enhancements.

CPA Community Preservation Act. This Commonwealth act allows a municipality to add an increment to local property taxes that goes into a fund that may be used for historical preservation, low-income housing and open space that are currently matched 1:1 by the Commonwealth. Trails are one of the approved uses under CPA. This is a likely source of funding for the local portion of the cost of rail trails in Sudbury Concord and Acton, communities that have passed the CPA. The use of CPA funds must be approved by the local CPC before going to Town Meeting for final approval.

CPC Community Preservation Committee. This Town committee must approve any use of CPA funds. CPC’s recommendations go to Town meeting for final approval.

CSX The acronym stands alone. This is the railroad company that owns the rail bed of the BFRT south of the MCRT. Phase 3 of the BFRT will be on this section in Sudbury and Framingham.

CTPS Central Transportation Planning Staff. This state agency is part of the MPO and carries out the initial feasibility studies for rail trails. CTPS conducted the feasibility study for the Sudbury to Lowell section of the BFRT in 1987. An update for the Phase 2 section of the BFRT was done in 2003. A study of the Phase 3 section was initiated in January 2005. CTPS conducted the feasibility study for the Wayside Trail in 1987. A key contact at CTPS is Cathy Buckley Lewis.

DCAM Division of Capital Asset Management. This state watchdog agency must approve any lease or sale of state property. The agency was set up a short time ago after some apparent sweetheart deals between state official and private parties were revealed. EOT must submit rail trail leases to DCAM for approval. DCAM is the agent for selling state property.

DCR Division of Conservation and Recreation. This division combines the parks and trails activities of the former MDC (Metropolitan District Commission) with the former DEM (Division of Environmental Management). Danny O’Brien of DCR  is an expert on rail trail development in Massachusetts.  He assisted in the planning of Phase 1 of the BFRT. Among the rail trails managed by DCR are the Cape Cod, Nashua River, Norwottuck and Ashuwillticook rail trails.

EOT Executive Office of Transportation. This is the state umbrella agency for all transportation departments. The name was recently modified by dropping the C (for “Construction” from the former name EOTC). This agency owns the rail bed of the BFRT from South Sudbury to Lowell. In 2006, Michael Gleba is the EOT official in charge of EOT’s railroad property. Josh Lehman is Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator at EOT. Todd Fortanella coordinates access to EOT property and leases for rail trails. Leases offered by EOT must be approved by DCAM. Draft agreements are generated by APM.

FHWA Federal Highway Administration. Rail trail projects seeking partial federal funding must be coordinated through the local office of FHWA. As an important matter of semantics, FHWA primarily funds “transportation” projects (including things described as “bike paths” or “alternative transportation corridors”), not “rail trails” or recreational paths.

FST Fay, Spofford and Thorndike. This transportation engineering firm performed the engineering study for the BFRT in Acton and Concord.  In summer 2006, FST is working on the ”Sudbury Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Engineering and Environmental Assessment.” FST also designed the Nashua River Rail Trail, among other rail trails. FST did the redesign of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  Jen Shemowat and John Hendrickson are key contacts.

ISTEA Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act sometimes referred to as “ice tea”. This is the omnibus federal transportation bill passed in about 1993 and covering a five-year period. This bill set aside a fraction of the total budget for things other than highways. Much of the funding for rail trails came out of these funds. This bill was followed by TEA-21and the 2005 SAFETA-LU. Rail trail funding comes out of the CMAQ, Enhancement or Recreational Trails parts of ISTEA and the follow-on bills. Trails funding also comes in relatively small grants administered through DCR, and are usually for ancillary amenities, and not primary design and construction costs.

MAPC Metropolitan Area Planning Council. This is the RPA for Phases 2 and 3 of the BFRT. All proposed transportation efforts (including rail trails) must be coordinated through MAPC. They work as an intermediary between the local communities and MHD. Scott Walker coordinates rail trail proposals at MAPC.

MBTA Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The MBTA owns the rail bed of the Wayside Trail. Any real estate dealings (including rail trail leases) are handled by TRA, the real estate arm of the MBTA.

MCRT Massachusetts Central Rail Trail. This proposed east-west rail trail runs from Boston to Northampton. The MBTA-owned portion of this trail is referred to as the Wayside Rail Trail. The MCRT crosses the BFRT in south Sudbury. This is the boundary between phases 2 and 3 of the BFRT. The rail bed south of the intersection is owned by CSX.

MHD Massachusetts Highway Department. This department supervises design, bidding and construction for rail trails. The BFRT is in Massachusetts Highway District 4.

MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization. After a rail trail is approved through either the CMAQ or Enhancement program, MPO programs the effort on the TIP. CTPS is part of MPO. Josh Lehman is in charge of bicycle and pedestrian projects.

PRC Project Review Committee. PRC consists of five district directors and the Chief Engineer of MHD. Following CMAQ approval, municipality and RPA work with MHD to receive PRC approval. Following PRC approval, the MHD design process can begin.

ROW Right of way. For a rail trail, this is the strip of property containing the rail line owned by a railroad company (e.g., CSX) or government agency (e.g. EOT). The strip is typically forty to eighty feet wide.

RPA Regional Planning Agency. The state is broken up into 13 RPA’s. The Northern Middlesex Area Council of Government covers Phase 1 of the BFRT. The RPA for Phases 2 and 3 is MAPC.

RTC Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. National advocacy organization promoting rail trail conversions, legislation, maintenance, use, etc.

RTCAC Rail Trail Conversion Advisory Committee. This Sudbury committee has been established to advise the Selectmen concerning rail trail projects.

SAFTEA-LU  Safe, Accountable, Flexible Transportation Equity Act-Legacy for Users. On August 10, 2005, the president signed the this new transportation bill. SAFETEA-LU authorizes the Federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the 5-year period 2005-2009.  Support for rail trails is included in this act in much the same way as in the earlier ISTEA and TEA-21 acts.

TEA-21 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. This 1998 omnibus federal transportation bill covers a five-year period. Its predecessor was ISTEA. Funding for things like rail trails was extended to TEA-21. The bill was  extended several times (into 2005) because Congress delayed passage of SAFETEA-LU.

TIP Transportation Improvement Program. The appropriate MPO generates this annually updated list of estimates over 6 years of when all federal transportation projects will receive their funding. It functions something like a priority list. Rail trail projects can go on the TIP at a very early stage, well before approvals and design are in place.

TRA Transit Realty Associates. Any MBTA real estate dealings (including rail trail leases) are handled by TRA, the real estate arm of the MBTA. Buzz Constable heads TRA.

VMT Vehicle miles traveled. This is a measure of the potential impact of a CMAQ-funded trail.