"Above all else, Dukakis is a rail man. His blood runs steel grey. He dismissed congestion pricing, Bus Rapid Transit and HOV lanes as decoys, meant only to divert attention from the one true path to better cities and better lives. The key to reviving cities and metropolitan areas, says Dukakis, is rail.
All this makes sense when you understand that Dukakis began his career in the 1960s as a community activist and then state legislator from his neighborhood of Brookline, an inner city streetcar suburb. He fought the expressways with under which planners appeared ready to eviscerate and strangle the historic urban fabric, and then as governor pressed for funding to improve and extend the subways and commuter rail services.
Just look at the stunning dividends now, three decades later, Dukakis claimed at the conference. Boston is thriving, a city and metropolitan area for all to envy. It's no accident, he suggested: basically, you get what you invest in. Spend your money on highways and airports, you get sprawl. Spend your money on subways, trolleys, commuter rail and inter-city rail, and you get dense, thriving compact places and cities that become springboards for economic development."