Our origins: The Artery Business Committee

Our organization was born out of the “Big Dig” — Boston’s Central Artery/Tunnel Project. As Boston developers Norman Leventhal and Edwin Sidman sought to build support from the business community for the Big Dig’s success, they spearheaded the creation of the Artery Business Committee. The 29 original member companies met for the first time in 1989 and identified three priorities:

  • Ensure downtown Boston remained accessible during construction.
  • Guarantee the finished project would adequately serve downtown Boston.
  • Safeguard the project from political and legal controversies that could threaten its completion.

Throughout the Big Dig’s construction, the Artery Business Committee fought to keep Boston open for business and worked with city and state officials to monitor traffic and construction management, utility relocation, and highway architecture. As a result, during construction of the project Boston enjoyed the lowest vacancy rate and the lowest unemployment rate in the city’s history.

Becoming a Better City

After completion of the Big Dig, the Artery Business Committee expanded its scope to include large infrastructure projects citywide and in 2006 rebranded itself as A Better City to reflect its new role in Boston’s development. Over the years we have played a critical role in open space and land use development planning for the Rose Kennedy Greenway. We have spearheaded major transportation projects focused on I-93, the Longfellow Bridge, and the Allston Interchange. And we have managed and assisted with the planning and implementation of the South Boston Waterfront Transportation Plan.

Additionally, A Better City has advanced transportation finance reform, policy, and legislative initiatives, and launched award-winning Challenge for Sustainability and Transportation Management Association programs.

Our leadership

A Better City is fortunate to have many prominent members of the business community on its board and in its leadership.

Past chairmen include:

Artery Business Committee

1989 - 1992: Norman B. Leventhal, Beacon Capital Partners

1993 - 1995: John Larkin Thompson, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA

1996 - 1999: Robert L. Beal, Related Beal                                              

2000 - 2006: John Drew, The Drew Companies                                  

A Better City

2007 - 2010: Michael E. Mooney, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP                 

2011 - 2012:  Lawrence S. DiCara, Nixon Peabody                             

2013 - 2016:  Michael Cantalupa, Boston Properties 

2017 - 2018: George Schwartz, Private Banking Group

2019 - 2021: Douglas M. McGarrah, Esq, Foley Hoag LLP

2022 - Present: James M. Tierney, JLL