Next MBTA general manager gets closer look at system

The incoming general manager of the MBTA said she plans to hit every part of the state, including Dorchester and Mattapan.

“I intend to be on the ground,” said Beverly Scott, who has helmed the Atlanta transit system.

Scott met with reporters on Monday at South Station, after riding the commuter rail and the Orange Line. Scott is scheduled to begin her duties on Dec. 17.

Asked what needs the most improvement, Scott pointed to the transit agency’s finances. For fiscal year 2014, the MBTA is projected to have a $130 million deficit in its operations budget.

The Patrick administration is working on a transportation financing plan, which will be submitted to the Legislature early next year.

Scott said savings from cutting back costs will be limited.

“You can’t cut costs, or cut your way out of where we need to be going for the future,” Scott said.

Scott was joined by Transportation Secretary Rich Davey, who once held her job.

“This is going to be either a renaissance or a rollback with transportation as we know it,” Davey said of the transportation reform conversation expected to occur next year. “Not just the T, but commonwealth-wide. So we need to engage with our partners in the Legislature over the next few months to solve this thing, we hope, once and for all.”

“Financially?” a reporter asked.

“Meaning financially, that’s exactly right,” Davey said. “There are always ways to improve our cost structure. Dr. Scott has some experience in that regard. We’re looking forward to seeing if there are other things we can do to reduce our cost structure. But at the end of the day, reforming transportation alone is not enough to do what I’m hearing from our customers what they want, which is a more robust, more reliable, safe system in this state.”

Scott, who has also worked in New York and Washington, D.C., said she was looking forward to living again in an area where a car isn’t necessary. Scott added that she was a longtime fan of the MBTA.

“There’s nothing like the T,” Scott said. “I’m very genuine when I say it’s transit royalty and old fine wine.”

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