by: John Bachman Updated:ATLANTA —
Channel 2 Action News is getting new insight on the state of MARTA from the outgoing head of the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.
Beverly Scott is leaving to lead transit in Boston, but not before a lengthy and candid interview with Channel 2's John Bachman.
Scott started at MARTA five years ago. She said she's leaving MARTA in a better position than she found it. She also addressed controversy over her management.
"I'll tell you this in a nutshell, I never ask anybody to do anything that I don't do and have not done myself," Scott said.
Scott spent her last day at the Five Points MARTA station downtown.
She lead MARTA through a tough time, taking over when it was operating with nearly a $120 million yearly deficit.
"When you're talking about a $120 million gap, that's not something you can play around. You can't make everybody happy or whatever, you need to take actions that need to take place," Scott said.
She cut jobs, cut bus service, froze pay, increased fares and increased employee contributions to health care.
They were tough decisions that caused some controversy two years ago, prompting MARTA to spend nearly $150,000 to study Scott's management.
"I put my big girl pants on. At the end of the day I say 'you be you, I'll be me and I'm going to try to do it the best way I can,'" Scott said.
Scott said she's leaving MARTA better than she found it. That $120 million dollar yearly deficit will be $30 million this year. She said customers now pay a larger percentage of the operating costs.
However, as far as critics saying MARTA can't support itself, she said, "Quite candidly, I smile when people say privatization because if the private sector could run them and make a profit on them, you would not find them being public, OK!"
Scott also talked about the failed T-SPLOST vote. She called it a success because it set the table for another vote, which she expects will pass. She said next time, however, the vote should be on a 20-year plan, not 10 years.
Scott starts in Boston on Dec. 17.