New MBTA Chief's Atlanta Audit Is No Big Deal

And don't worry about the MBTA because of it.

Incoming MBTA GM Beverly Scott has gotten a lot of scrutiny over the past few weeks. There’s been extensive coverage of counseling she received and an audit that was conducted during the last year while she was head of Atlanta’s MARTA system.

To this extent, it is a due diligence story about MassDOT. There’s something to talk about here.

But regarding the second half of the findings—the audit—there’s nothing here. Go read it, if your time permits. This is standard operating procedure in most major public entities that are seeking to cut costs. Go to an outside/third-party authority (it’s KPMG in this case), have them show dire fiscal consequences in the future, and then have them benchmark costs centers and project savings.

That’s exactly what this is. KPMG delivers the goods—employee benefits would need to be reduced and certain inefficient operations would be outsourced. MARTA’s unions are not pleased. But that’s the point of the audit—starting the political and administrative process to cutting costs, and giving management some third party estimates of savings.

So worry about the MBTA all you want. Just don’t do it because of this audit.