The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board's marathon Monday meeting was one for the books.

In the course of about five consecutive hours, the Board approved a contract for the long-awaited and $2+ billion Green Line Extension and green-lighted a plan to move to a system-wide "cashless" fare collection system.  

But as is usually the case, the details of the board's meetings were more muddled than the headlines that emerged.

The Board also moved, just after the TV cameras had left, to endorse a controversial proposal to lift the ban on the advertising of alcohol on MBTA property.

And for all the camaraderie when it came to the first two big-ticket items, the board only narrowly passed a motion to approve the plan to lift the alcohol ad ban: the motion passed 3-2, with board member Brian Lang and board chairman Joseph Aiello casting “no” votes.

Lang, the most outspoken on the board -- and who had voted against the measure last week -- noted that he had received emails thanking him for his opposition, and took issue with the characterization, by T staff, of the ban-lifting as a “pilot” program, aimed at collecting more data on revenue.

The question of revenue, Lang said, was clear.

“Alcohol advertising generates significant revenue, that's why we want to do it,” Lang said, “And I caution us on moving toward the money at the expense of social impact - I just think that we're better than that.”

Meanwhile, the day’s vote to approve a “cashless” fare collection system invited more scrutiny than was perhaps obvious.

MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack made a point of emphasizing that the plan in question was not a “cash-less system,” -- meaning that riders will still be able to use cash to add value to Charlie Cards (or the new Charlie Cards anticipated under the new system) and will not only rely on online, credit card, or new-fangled payment systems.

But the fact remains that even though T staff say new payment systems will be more accessible and widespread than the so often hard-to-come-by Charlie Card dispensers -- they won’t be available at every bus stop, which means that bus riders in particular will need to be ready to pay -- new-style -- when they get on the bus at their local stop.

Among other tidbits: While the T has advertised that its new non-cash payment systems will allow riders to use credit cards, the presentation made to the board mentioned only “contactless” credit cards -- devices unlike the conventional credit (or debit) cards used in most of the United States.

The T anticipates that such cards will be more readily available and used two years from now, when they roll out the program in earnest -- but they remain fairly obscure in this country right now.