Share This Page

Panel hires PennDOT administrator as turnpike chief

| Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 6:20 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission on Tuesday hired PennDOT Deputy Secretary Mark Compton to replace Roger Nutt as its chief executive, a spokesman said.

Compton, 39, of Lancaster County has directed several PennDOT bureaus as deputy secretary, including infrastructure and operations, fiscal management and human resources.

“I look forward to my role in shaping the policies and programs that will position the turnpike as a leader at this critical point in time of meeting the commonwealth's needs for transportation services,” Compton said in a statement.

The turnpike is the target of a state grand jury probe and has $7.8 billion in debt, an amount that has tripled since legislators passed a law five years ago that requires it to give PennDOT $450 million a year. The agency borrowed money and raised tolls annually to meet the requirement.

Compton's boss, PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch, said he was “saddened to be losing a man of Mark's caliber and talent.”

But Schoch said, “I'm excited for him as he takes on the new role of turnpike CEO. Mark is a leader who brings a high level of enthusiasm and excitement to his job, and his skills and commitment to excellence will serve turnpike users extremely well in the years ahead.”

Compton held government posts that included stints as the state Department of Community and Economic Development's marketing director and as a PennDOT administrative assistant, as well as staff posts under former Gov. Tom Ridge and former U.S. Rep. William Clinger, R-Warren. He held executive jobs with construction and development companies.

The five-member Turnpike Commission hired Compton in a unanimous vote. He will begin working with the agency on Feb. 1. Salary information was not immediately available.

“Mark is a highly qualified, highly capable individual who is respected by many in the transportation industry,” said Commission Chairman William K. Lieberman of Squirrel Hill, adding he will continue work to streamline operations and modernize the agency.

Among modernization projects, the turnpike plans to convert to all-electronic tolling within five years. A study released last spring predicted the move could reduce toll collection costs at least $67 million a year; the agency's operating budget is $326.7 million this fiscal year. The move would eliminate more than 600 toll collector jobs, though an unknown number of those workers are expected to stay on with the agency in other capacities.

Nutt resigned in October, citing heart problems. He was paid $196,000 a year.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.