NCTD’s Tucker to Retire

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Matthew O. Tucker, outgoing Executive Director, NCTD

Matthew O. Tucker, outgoing Executive Director, NCTD

North County Transit District (NCTD) Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker will retire Sept. 1 after nearly 15 years of service in northern San Diego County, Calif.

The Executive Committee of the NCTD Board of Directors will now develop recommendations regarding the appointment of an interim Executive Director and the process for selecting a permanent replacement for Tucker, according to NCTD, which operates COASTER commuter rail, SPRINTER hybrid rail, BREEZE bus, FLEX on-demand and LIFT paratransit services. The Board will consider those recommendations on Aug. 14.

Tucker, a 30-plus-year public transit veteran, joined NCTD in December 2008, when the agency faced a projected five-year structural deficit of $80 million. “He successfully implemented a comprehensive financial, business and personnel plan that eliminated the deficit, established financial reserves, and created a path toward eliminating all current long-term debts, including its pension obligations, within the next 15 years,” according to the agency.

During Tucker’s tenure, with the leadership of the NCTD Board and in collaboration with employees, labor partners and other stakeholders, the agency said it has achieved several milestones, including:

  • Securing funding and executing an agreement with BNSF to construct a new downtown COASTER station, which is expected to open in early 2026, providing a single-seat, regional train connection to the San Diego Convention Center and Petco Park.
  • Establishing a real estate redevelopment program that will generate new sources of revenue, increase transit ridership, support job growth, provide housing opportunities and reduce automobile reliance. NCTD now has 11 active transit-oriented development projects in various stages.
  • Replacing 100% of NCTD’s legacy locomotive fleet with new locomotives that NCTD said “meet the most stringent emissions guidelines,” and advancing NCTD’s transition to zero-emissions bus technology with the construction of battery charging and hydrogen stations and plans to have 41 zero-emission buses in operation by 2025.

Tucker served previously as Executive Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation; Chief Operating Officer of the Santa Clara Valley (Calif.) Transportation Authority; Deputy Public Transit Director for the city of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Deputy General Manager for the Greater Richmond (Va.) Transit Company. He has also served in numerous leadership positions at the American Public Transportation Association.

“Matt has been a strong and steady hand at NCTD, a remarkable steward of our region’s transportation assets, and a national leader in the transit industry,” NCTD Board Chair Jewel Edson said during the Aug. 7 announcement of Tucker’s retirement. “He has served the San Diego region as a reliable champion for public transit and for the customers who rely on NCTD’s services every day.”

“I want to thank the Board of Directors for their strong support in leading what is one of the most unique and multifaceted public transit agencies in the country,” Tucker said. “I would also like to recognize and celebrate the employees of NCTD and its contractors who show up every day to serve the public. Their hard work and their commitment to public service is so important to this region and to the people who rely on NCTD’s transit services. It has been an honor to work with you.”

Further Reading:

So-Cal Rail Renaissance

NCTD Cutting Back Coaster Fleet

CalSTA: $690MM for Public Transportation Projects

NCTD Secures $7MM for Sprinter Improvements

Commuter Rail Coalition San Diego Pathing Study With NCTD and BNSF: RAIL GROUP ON AIR

COASTER Marking 25 Years

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