Pennsylvania Turnpike chief resigns, cites health

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 10/10/2012

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is looking for a new chief. CEO Roger Nutt says he will officially step down Oct. 31, citing fatigue and health concerns related to recent heart treatments.

For the past nine months, Nutt and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission have been on the defensive after the state’s auditor general said the agency was “drowning in debt,” largely due to the 2007 law known as Act 44.

Act 44 requires the commission to give $450 million in toll revenue to the state DOT each year to pay for transportation projects unrelated to the turnpike. It’s the same law that called for the conversion of Interstate 80 into a toll road to feed the beast. Truckers were among the biggest opponents of the now defunct I-80 toll plan.

Nutt, who succeeded former CEO Joseph Brimmeier in March 2011, maintains that there is no looming financial crisis at the turnpike.

One of the reasons might be the series of toll increases that have taken effect in recent years to help offset the Act 44 payments.

The turnpike’s fifth toll increase since 2009 is set to go into effect in January 2013. Last year, the agency separated cash and E-ZPass rates in an effort to incentivize the use of E-ZPass. The agency hopes to convert to an all-electronic collection system in the coming years.

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