The Regional System and the MBTA

Concerned urban planners, community leaders, and legislators throughout the surrounding area began to tackle these continually expanding problems of urban regional mass transportation. College and university, as well as citizen seminars, and commissions legislated by the General Court were all established to produce studies and recommendations. The overall result was a comprehensive master plan recommending that the Greater Boston urban core mass transportation system be greatly expanded to reach out and to intergrate its mass transit services with those existing throughout the Greater Boston Massachusetts metropolitan area.

Thus it was that on August 3, 1964 the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, having been voted into law in June of that year by the General Court (Acts of 1964, Chapter 563/M.G.L.A. Chapter 161A), became an ongoing concern charged with the implementation of a new, bold concept of mass transportation. It was to have an extraordinary impact on Boston and 77 other total cities and towns. The "T", as it immediately came to be known, was one of the first combined regional transportation planning and operating agencies to be established in the United States.

This newly created Authority, like its predecessor the MTA, a body politic, and a political subdivision of the Commonwealth, greatly expanded its services from the original 14 cities and towns to encompass 78 municipalities. Immediately the "T" undertook a very aggressive advertising and marketing campaign to enhance its new image, to recapture lost ridership, build new customer usage, and expand its services with new equipment.

On July 9, 1964, just prior to the creation of the MBTA, the United States Department of Transportation had itself been legislated into existence and through the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) began its federally funded mass transportation capital impovements programs. During 1965, the MBTA submitted its first request for the federal funding of modernization of 10 mass transit stations (Copley, Maverick, Prudential, Orient Heights, Government Center/Blue and Green Lines, Fields Corner, Columbia, Kenmore, Haymarket, and Arlington). UMTA projects have continued from 1965 until the present and the MBTA has received over $3.5 billion for its capital improvement projects and its yearly operating program.

A major highlight of this UMTA funding came on July 28, 1965 when the MBTA signed an historic document legally reserving for its present and future needs the entire New Haven Railroad's network of commuter rail lines and rights-of-way within the Authority's 78 communities. This paved the way for an ambitious Commuter Rail Directorate being established in July 1974. Presently Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail, under a management contract with the MBTA, provides commuter rail services on 12 routes. Studies are underway for additional commuter rail extensions.

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