Special to the Independent
MassDevelopment has awarded 85 grants totaling $4,465,619 from the Taxi and Livery Business Support Grant Program to support 104 small businesses operating in the taxi and livery industries and two taxi and livery industry associations including five area businesses. The first round of the Taxi and Livery Business Support Grant Program offers taxi and livery operators financial assistance to secure products or services that will aid in improving their competitiveness and enhancing safety capabilities in the rapidly evolving market of for-hire transportation.
The grants will fund expenses including dispatch systems or other equipment, technology-enabled ride-hailing systems, safety enhancements, workforce training programs, and business consultant services, and will help industry associations fund aggregated improvements that will have a collective impact on the taxi and livery industries in Massachusetts. The Taxi and Livery Business Support Grant Program is funded by MassDevelopment’s allocation from the Commonwealth’s Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund.
“I’m pleased we can target this necessary support for the taxi and livery industries which make up an important component of the Commonwealth’s comprehensive transportation network,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy. “These grants will support the competitiveness of the taxi and livery industries by helping them make critical adjustments to operate with the health and safety of both their workers and customers in mind.”
The Commonwealth’s Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund was created by An Act Regulating Transportation Network Companies, which Gov. Charles Baker signed into law in August 2016 and is supported by a 20-cent assessment on every transportation network company ride in Massachusetts. One-quarter of the Fund is being designated to MassDevelopment to provide financial assistance to small businesses operating in the taxicab, livery, or hackney industries.
In August 2020, MassDevelopment announced it is using up to two-thirds of its allotment from the Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund to support the Taxi and Livery Business Support Grant Program, and opened a competitive solicitation for the first round of funding. Small businesses operating in the taxi, livery, and hackney industries could apply for grants of up to $50,000, while taxi and livery industry associations could apply for grants of up to $1 million, and could direct up to $200,000 of such awards toward the purchase of marketing materials that promote the taxi and livery industries.
The remaining one-third of MassDevelopment’s allotment from the Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund is supporting the Taxi/Livery Partnership Grant Program, launched and administered by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in fall 2020, which is an operational subsidy program enabling municipalities, municipal entities, regional transit authorities, health and human service providers, and applicable nonprofits to expand transportation service capacity through contracts with licensed taxi or livery businesses. In response to COVID-19, in April 2020 MAPC launched an early version of this program, the Urgent COVID-19 Taxicab, Livery, and Hackney Partnership Grant Program, to facilitate urgent transportation and delivery needs for vulnerable populations during the pandemic; in November 2020, MassDevelopment and MAPC awarded $1,003,978 through the program to 25 cities and towns, municipal agencies, regional transit authorities, and health and human services transportation providers.
The following businesses and organizations in the area received funding from the Taxi and Livery Business Support Grant Program:
•The Transportation Alliance, Inc., Statewide – $1 million
•New England Livery Association, Inc., Statewide – $1 million
•Boston Domestic Limo, Chelsea – $20,308
•DPV Transportation Inc., Everett – $10,000
•Everett Car Service, Inc., Everett – $50,000
•One Transportation Group, LLC, Revere – $35,000 •PJM Executive Car Service, Winthrop – $23,000