"ONE OF the greatest improvements to life in Metro Boston over the past 20 years is the MBTA. Whatever its shortcomings, the T today is a far cry from the one many of us rode as children. It is, for the most part, reliable, clean, and safe. The rebuilt Orange Line runs quickly downtown, and north to Malden. The Red Line has doubled in length, linking Braintree with Cambridge. Commuter rail lines knit the region together, and ferries bring passengers into town from the South Shore.
Today, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council will unveil a new plan for growth and preservation in Greater Boston. The plan, called "MetroFuture," was constructed with input from more than 5,000 residents and regional leaders. It calls for a new pattern of development based on "smart growth" - concentrating new homes and jobs near existing infrastructure, preserving farms and fields, and protecting air, water, and habitat. However, attaining the lofty goals of MetroFuture depends more on one institution than on any other: a healthy, stable, and growing transit system."