By SDCN Editor
Oceanside, CA–North County Transit District Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker announced his retirement Monday after guiding the agency for nearly 15 years.
Tucker’s retirement is effective September 1. He ends his career with more than 30 years 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 North County Transit District 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 the district 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 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,” said Tucker. “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 the agency, 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.
He also established 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.
Tucker secured 100 percent of NCTD’s legacy locomotive fleet with new locomotives that meet the most stringent emissions guidelines and advanced the district’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. He has also served in numerous leadership positions in the American Public Transit Association.
The Executive Committee of the NCTD Board of Directors will meet on August 10 to develop recommendations for the full Board of Directors 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 August 14 to consider the recommendations.