Head of Boston's transit agency resigning after storm shutdown

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 11, 2015 5:29 PM

BOSTON (Reuters) - The embattled head of Boston's transit agency will resign her position in the wake of a controversial decision to shut down rail service during a massive three-day snowstorm, Massachusetts officials said on Monday.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager Beverly Scott said in a letter that she would step down on April 11. The letter made no mention of the storm shutdown, or of criticism of the agency's performance during a two-week spate of storms levied by the state's new governor, Charlie Baker.

"I am stunned by the resignation of Dr. Scott," said John Jenkins, chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board, which oversees the MBTA. "We hoped and expected that she would fulfill her three-year contract, which ends in December."

Just before thousands of commuters were about to begin their evening rush hour on Monday, the MBTA announced it would shut down all service at 7 p.m. Service remained shuttered throughout Tuesday as Boston and surrounding communities worked to dig out from the massive snowfall, and trains resumed running on Wednesday.

A trio of powerful storms ultimately dropped about 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow on eastern Massachusetts.

Baker had criticized the MBTA's performance during the storms, saying Tuesday "they did not live up to the representations they made to us and to others over the course of the past week."

Scott angrily fired back, contending that the authority had not received adequate funding to keep up with service demands and noting, "we do not control Mother Nature."

"Much more remains to be done to achieve the modern and first-class public transportation system that all want and deserve," Scott said in her resignation letter.

Many commuters questioned the decision to shut rail service that carries some 950,000 people on a typical weekday, noting that when roads are clogged with snow trains can become a vital lifeline.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Lambert)