Former State Senator Sean Logan of Monroeville, was unanimously confirmed to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission yesterday by the Pennsylvania Senate.
Gov. Tom Corbett nominated Logan on June 13 to fill the vacated seat of former State Senator J. William Lincoln. Logan testified June 26 before the Senate Transportation Committee and was unanimously reported to the full Senate. He will attend his first meeting as a turnpike commissioner on July 16 in Harrisburg.
Logan served a decade in the state senate representing the 45th District in parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. He now serves as executive director and CEO of Visit Monroeville.
"I have known Sean for over a decade, and I have found him to be a dedicated and thoughtful leader," said Turnpike Commission Chairman William Lieberman of Pittsburgh. "He brings the experience necessary to help the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission carry on the improvements we've undertaken, and he will be a tremendous asset."
During his time in the senate, Logan served as secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus, as minority chairman of the Law and Justice Committee and as a member of the Appropriations Committee. He was vice chairman at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) during a time of turmoil and transition, and he said that experience will serve him well in his turnpike job.
"I understand the critical responsibility involved in serving the commonwealth as a turnpike commissioner at such a time," Logan said. "We have to make the commission more efficient; we have to make it more accountable and more transparent. That's what we did at PHEAA, and that's what I look forward to doing at the turnpike."
Since his nomination, Logan has met with the turnpike's leadership team about the challenges confronting the agency. He noted that the commission continues working diligently to operate more efficiently, to invest in rebuilding its system and creating new capacity while managing its Act 44 obligations to PennDOT.
"I'm happy to report that the Turnpike Commission is committed to becoming more responsive to customers, to citizens of the commonwealth and to all stakeholders," said Logan. "I'm also impressed by the commission's commitment to regain the trust of Pennsylvanians a commitment that has intensified in the wake of the actions taken earlier this year by the Office of the Attorney General."
In his senate confirmation testimony, Logan mentioned the "Mapping the Future" cost-cutting partnership with PennDOT and the reforms that were implemented both before and after the presentments announced by the attorney general in March as steps in the right direction.
He also applauded the commission for its project to convert to a cashless, All-Electronic Tolling (AET) system, a major undertaking that will fundamentally change the way the turnpike operates. " AET is not only a more efficient way to collect tolls, it reduces travel time, increases customer convenience and is safer as a result of fewer crashes on barrier-free highways," Logan said. "Plus, it improves air quality because there is no idling at toll plazas."
Logan noted that initiatives such as AET and Mapping the Future share a common thread: "The more efficient the Turnpike Commission can become, the more toll dollars can be invested back into the system through maintenance and capital investment," Logan said. "Those initiatives are already paying off, as the turnpike recently surpassed 100 miles of total reconstruction and completed 50 miles of the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway projects in the past decade alone."
The turnpike commission was created in 1937 to construct, finance, operate and maintain the turnpike. The commission comprises four members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, and the state transportation secretary. The commission oversees 552 miles of highway which on average has about 526,000 vehicles traveling per day.