EVEN AS the Legislature deliberates over how to fund the state’s cash-strapped transportation systems, it’s not too soon for the MBTA to begin thinking about future expansions — especially the kind that promise to serve more customers at a relatively modest investment. At least on paper, the T’s proposal to extend Silver Line service to Chelsea fits that description. Chelsea is the kind of dense but often neglected urban community that more predictable, effective public transit has the potential to invigorate.
What’s less clear is whether an extension of the Silver Line, the T’s controversial “bus rapid transit” service, will be adequate to provoke such a renaissance. As T officials contemplate a northward extension of the line past Logan Airport, the agency should look for ways to improve the speed and usefulness of the Silver Line more generally.