Matthew O. Tucker to retire from NCTD

Aug. 8, 2023
Tucker’s retirement from NCTD caps a more than 30-year career of serving public transit agencies around the nation; Tucker has been with NCTD since 2008 and is the current executive director.

Matthew O. Tucker, the North County Transit District (NCTD) executive director, is retiring after guiding NCTD for nearly 15 years after joining the agency in 2008. His retirement from NCTD caps a more than 30-year career of serving public transit agencies around the nation.

“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,” said NCTD Board Chair Jewel Edson. “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.”

When Tucker joined NCTD in December of 2008, 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.

“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.”

During Tucker’s tenure at NCTD, with the leadership of the board and in collaboration with employees, labor partners and other key stakeholders, NCTD 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 robust 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 percent of NCTD’s legacy locomotive fleet with new locomotives that 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.

Prior to joining NCTD, Tucker served as executive director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, chief operating officer of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, deputy public transit director for the city of Phoenix and deputy general manager for the Greater Richmond Transit Company. A recognized national voice in the transit industry, he has also served in numerous leadership positions in the American Public Transit Association.

Tucker’s retirement is effective Sept. 1, 2023. The Executive Committee of the NCTD Board of Directors will meet on Aug. 10 to develop recommendations for the full board regarding the appointment of an interim executive director and a process for selecting a permanent replacement for Tucker. The board is scheduled to meet on Aug. 14 to consider the recommendations.