Paul L. Troast

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Paul Lyman Troast (November 19, 1894 – July 21, 1972)[1] was a wealthy building contractor from Passaic, New Jersey, chairman of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority during its construction, and one-time failed gubernatorial candidate.

According to a letter to the editor written by his daughter, Kathleen Troast Pitney: "Governor Driscoll appointed three men to the Turnpike Authority in the late 1940s -- Maxwell Lester, George Smith and Paul Troast, my father, as chairman. They had no enabling legislation and no funding. They were able to open more than two-thirds of the road in 11 months, completing the whole (project) in less than two years. . . . When the commissioners broached the subject of landscaping the road. . . . the governor told them he wanted a road to take the interstate traffic . . . off New Jersey's existing roads. Since 85 percent of the traffic at that time was estimated to be from out of state, why spend additional funds on landscaping?"[2]

In 1953 Troast won the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey. Time wrote "county bosses ... pushed him through a bitter, party-splitting primary last April. Troast, with no political experience, was known principally for his chairmanship of the commission that built the $220 million New Jersey Turnpike. But his campaigning has been as flat as his turnpike. He was overconfident, started too late, and let the Democrats gobble up most of the best radio and television time.... Troast suffered his roundest wallop early in October, when newspapers broke the story that Troast had asked New York's Tom Dewey to commute the sentence of Labor Extortionist Joey Fay."[3] Seven major candidates had run in the primary, with Troast beating second place candidate Malcolm Forbes by 47,000 votes.[4]

Initially favored, he lost to Robert B. Meyner by 154,000 votes.

Troast made news again five years later, when, as Time reported: "Rush H. Kress, 81, ailing brother of the late founder of the 261-store S. H. Kress & Co. five-and-ten chain, was replaced as chairman by New Jersey Construction Executive Paul L. Troast, a leader in the revolt of Kress Foundation directors that stripped Rush Kress of power. Command of the slipping company (sales slid from $176 million in 1952 to $159 million last year) will be shared by Troast, recently named President George L. Cobb and Executive Committee Chairman Frank M. Folsom"[5] Troast was a trustee of Kress from 1951–1972.

Paul Troast served as chairman of the board of New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) and its affiliate, the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., from 1963 until his death in 1972. According to the NJBIA, "he made so many contributions to New Jersey and its business community that Governor Richard J. Hughes called him 'Mr. New Jersey'." The NJBIA presents the The Troast Award annually "to a public servant who has made an outstanding contribution to the State of New Jersey and its business community."[6]

In 1972 Troast died at his home in Clifton, New Jersey at the age of 77. He was survived by his children Paul Troast, Jr., Kathleen Troast Pitney, Arthur Troast, John Troast and 19 grandchildren.[7]


Party political offices
Preceded by
Alfred E. Driscoll
Republican Nominee for Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Malcolm Forbes