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The Toll Roads CEO Samuel Johnson receives award from Conference of Minority Transportation Officials

Johnson is named Transportation Trailblazer by Southern California chapter of national advocacy organization for minorities in the transportation industry.

IRVINE, Calif. - February 26, 2021

Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) CEO Samuel Johnson was recognized Thursday with the Transportation Trailblazer award during a virtual awards ceremony hosted by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials Southern California (COMTO SoCal) chapter.

The nonprofit organization’s Black History Month Celebration and Virtual Reception recognized the accomplishments of transportation leaders in Southern California for their outstanding commitment to promoting equity throughout the transportation industry. In awarding Johnson with the honor, Demauris Terry, president of COMTO SoCal, told Johnson: “We are honoring you as a transportation influencer, highlighting how your accomplishments have shaped accessibility and mobility in Southern California. Your achievements this past year are a result of your hard work, dedication and passion. Because of this, you are a leader that we all inspire to be.”

Johnson was named interim CEO of TCA in April 2020 and retained the role with a unanimous vote by the Boards of Directors in September. He is the first person of color to hold the top position at the Agencies and is the highest-ranking Black leader in Orange County transportation, responsible for an annual average budget of nearly $400 million and investment portfolios in excess of $1.5 billion. TCA consists of two joint powers authorities formed by the 18 cities in South Orange County, the County Board of Supervisors and the California Legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s public toll road system comprised of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.

“I’m humbled to be among the honorees recognized by COMTO SoCal,” Johnson said. “It has been an important priority throughout my career to champion the positive contributions of people of all colors, ethnicities, identities and backgrounds. Organizations like COMTO spotlight the work we are doing, and I am proud to be in the company of the innovative leaders who are making a real difference for minorities in our industry.”

Johnson is also immediate past president of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and the businesses that serve them, where last year he instituted the association’s Task Force on Diversity, Social and Racial Inclusion. He established the formal partnership with COMTO to further the efforts of the task force, which works to implement practices and programs that contribute to social justice and expanding recognition for BIPOC. Johnson also championed the expansion of the association’s scholarship program to specifically assist students in pursuing studies at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. “We work toward action,” Johnson has said of the task force.

Earlier this year, Johnson received a humanitarian award from the Women In Tolling Council for his efforts to “build awareness that is tangible, actionable and meaningful.”

“Samuel’s efforts as a leader – not only for our Agencies but in the industry and the community – continue to be recognized. His vision and advocacy are more important than ever. On behalf of the Boards of Directors, I extend congratulations to Samuel for this much-deserved honor,” said San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA) Chair Trish Kelley, Mayor of Mission Viejo.

Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Chair Peggy Huang, Yorba Linda mayor, added: “Samuel’s commitment to advancing education for minority students interested in pursuing a transportation career is not only critical to furthering the industry, it’s inspiring. The initiatives he is implementing will ensure that future generations have more meaningful opportunities than those that came before.”

For more information on TCA’s projects and priorities, visit thetollroads.com.


The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California Legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s public toll road system comprised of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.

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