Pa. Turnpike chief resigns

Posted: October 10, 2012

The chief executive of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Roger E. Nutt, announced his resignation on Tuesday, effective at the end of October.

Citing health concerns, Nutt, 72, said in a letter to turnpike officials that he has "felt fatigued and stressed and not able to perform as your CEO at the level that should be expected of me."

William K. Lieberman, chairman of the Turnpike Commission, promptly accepted Nutt's resignation "with mixed emotions."

Nutt is the father of Gov. Corbett's campaign manager and former chief of staff, Brian Nutt. The elder Nutt, a former transportation official for New Jersey, was called out of his Florida retirement in March, 2011 to take the Pennsylvania post that paid $196,700 a year.

The turnpike's chief operating officer, Craig Shuey, will serve as acting CEO until a permanent replacement is named.

The turnpike commission has been under increased scrutiny in recent months, with state auditor general Jack Wagner warning that the agency faces bankruptcy within a few years because of its increasing debt load.

The turnpike has been required since 2007 to borrow billions of dollars to fund highway, bridge and transit projects around Pennsylvania, as well as to pay for the operations of the turnpike.

Nutt has disputed that, telling a legislative hearing last month that toll increases on motorists and truckers every year will provide enough money to prevent financial calamity.

The turnpike is more than $7 billion in debt, up from $2 billion in 2002 and $4 billion in 2009. The burden continues to grow, with the turnpike required to make payments for statewide projects until 2057.

In his resignation letter, Nutt cited accomplishments in his 19-month stint, including a 50-percent expansion in the turnpike's capital program that created "engineering, construction and related service jobs;" adoption of a new professional services procurement process, and creation of an office of diversity to increase minority hiring and an office of compliance to investigate the turnpike for fraud and abuse.


Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com

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