MBTA GM defends agency, cites lack of resources
MBTA chief Beverly A. Scott on Tuesday vigorously defended the recent performance of her agency, arguing that the aging system of trains has been as much a victim of underfunding as the recent series of severe snowstorms.
With the T facing criticism from Governor Charlie Baker amid cancellations and delays, Scott said she is doing all she can with the available resources.
“We are running an aged system and we are getting pounded every single day,’’ Scott said.
Scott said she has not spoken to Baker recently.
“I’m not the point of this,” she said in an animated question-and-answer session with the media. “I’ve been around a long time. The point is what the system and the people in the Commonwealth and this community deserve.”
Trains stopped running Monday evening and are closed all day Tuesday. Service is scheduled to resume on a limited basis Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Scott said she has not had direct conversations with the governor, but expects to meet Baker later this week.
“I have had absolutely no direct communication with the governor,’’ Scott said, adding that when she meets Baker it would be the “first time, candidly, I have had even a handshake with the governor.’’
Speaking to reporters after Scott’s appearance, Baker said he has been communicating with the MBTA through the state’s transportation department.
“I don’t have any direct authority over the MBTA,’’ Baker said, adding that Scott reports to the seven-member MassDOT board of directors and that he only has one vote there, that of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.
Baker said he has not spoken directly with Scott, leaving those conversations to Pollack.
“Beverly Scott is doing everything she can,’’ he said. But Baker added that the MBTA must lay out a plan to operate during the winter and for the months to come.
A day earlier, Baker had harsh words for the agency, describing its storm performance as unacceptable.
“We’ve been frustrated, disappointed with the performance of the T,’’ Baker said Monday. “The public transportation system has to work. Let’s face it, this can’t happen again.”
During the latest storm on Monday, a Red Line train became stranded between stations in Quincy and the MBTA ultimately decided not to operate subway and commuter rail service Tuesday so snow could be removed from hundreds of miles of railroad tracks.
Asked if she should resign, Scott replied, “I’m not even getting into those conversations.”
She said the T’s workers deserve credit for their performance during the past three weeks amid record snowfall in Massachusetts.
“Those folks who are out there and continuing to be, they are giving it their all. ... They love this Commonwealth,’’ Scott said.
Yet, Scott said that she cannot guarantee reliable service going into the weekend.
More snow is expected Thursday.