MBTA officials grappled unsuccessfully on Monday over whether to approve a plan, put forward by MBTA management, to partially lift a ban on alcohol advertisements on T property. 
Many other transit agencies, including New York's MTA, ban alcohol ads; and the T was one of the last major transit systems to implement such a ban, in 2012. 
On Tuesday, MBTA management presented a proposal to partially lift those restrictions to the T's Fiscal and Management Control Board, appointed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015 to oversee the agency as it struggles to reach better fiscal and operational health. 
The proposal, which T officials say would bring in an estimated $2.5 million in revenue next year,  would allow alcohol advertisements in most T stations, though not in roughly a dozen stations that see the most youth ridership. 
It would also allow the ads on billboards on MBTA property and on T-managed bus shelters. (Alcohol ads already appear, in fact, on Boston bus shelters, which are owned by the city, not the T). 
Alcohol ads would not be allowed in subway cars or on buses. 
But the Control Board, despite being generally disposed, as a body, toward private-sector answers, balked when asked to approve what MBTA management billed as a "pilot" lifting of the all-out ban.
After calling an initial vote, Board Chairman Joseph Aiello found himself unable to find a single "second" among the group. 
A subsequent vote on a slightly-altered plan, in which train ad "wraps" were taken off the table, received only two "yes" votes — from Aiello and board member Steve Poftak — and two "no" votes, from board members Monica Tibbits-Nutt and Brian Lang, the only member to voice something close to total opposition to lifting the ban. 
But all of the board's members appeared to be struggling, with each voicing concern even as most appeared inclined to pass some version of the plan.
But support seemed to melt away as fast as it began to solidify. 
At one point, the board considered an amended plan that would have removed in-station advertising — which, MBTA director of revenue Evan Rowe estimated, would also knock out about 80% of the anticipated revenue.
That revelation sunk the compromise plan quickly, with Tibbit-Nutt opining that passing such a limited lifting of the ban was "setting it up to fail," — a remark which seemed to inspire Lang, who opposed lifting the ban altogether but was apparently intrigued by the idea of throwing his support behind a fatally-flawed compromise.
"It'll take out 80% of the [advertising] market?" said Lang, "I'll vote for it."
The vote failed. The Board will likely take the matter up again at an upcoming meeting.