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Boston Transit Chief Quits Under Fire for Her Snow Job

The head of Boston's transit agency quit after days of criticism of the system's performance during this winter's historic snow.

The head of Boston's transit agency stepped down on Wednesday as critics all the way up to the governor of Massachusetts assailed her decision to shut down all rail service for more than 36 hours as crews labored to clear snow-buried tracks.

Beverly Scott, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, colloquially known as 'the T', didn't give any reason for stepping down with 10 months left in her three-year term. But Scott and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker have sniped at each other since the T began experiencing delays and partial closings during the monster snowstorms that have crushed Boston this winter. Those difficulties culminated Monday, when Scott shut down the entire rail system through Wednesday morning to clear ice and snow.

Scott didn't consult with Baker, who called the MBTA's performance "simply not acceptable" Monday and promised to give transit officials a good talking-to. Scott responded Tuesday, complaining that the system's infrastructure was antiquated — some of its vehicles are more than a century old — overcrowded and underfunded.

"For anyone to have any belief that a system that's over 100 years old, that's running on these Red and Orange lines that are much over capacity — to think that it's going to have the resilience to wind up rebounding and flying like an eagle, that's absolutely the epitome of...," Scott said, trailing off before adding, "and I'm not going to say 'foolish.'"

Scott acknowledged that she hadn't spoken to Baker in three weeks. She said he had no jurisdiction over MBTA operations, so she didn't need to check in with him before she shut down the system. And when and if she does meet with him, it will be "the first time that, candidly, I've even had a handshake from the governor," she said.

John Jenkins, board chairman of the state Transportation Department, said in a statement that he was "stunned" by Scott's resignation — it turned out she hadn't talked to him, either. But Jenkins backed Scott's "skillful and committed leadership" and said a nationwide search would get under way soon to find a replacement.