Mike Heiligenstein Offers His Opinion on Improving Transportation on Austin

Mike Heiligenstein gave an interview to the San Antonio Business Journal and answered a few questions about the transportation issues in the region in 2014. He started by providing an explanation of why the State Highway 130 had lower traffic numbers while the Interstate was congested. He said that the first thing that should be done is to move trucks and other cars to the highway. The county would also have to figure out a way to change the travel behavior of people so that they could use the SH 130 more.

 

Mike was asked to give his opinion on the financial performance of toll roads because of the gas prices and the weakening economy. Heiligenstein said that toll roads were not the perfect solution, but they would be effective when combined with other methods. He stated that they had been able to fund the extension of the 183A from the revenue that they had received and did not have to depend on tax dollars. Heiligenstein also mentioned how they had gained confidence with the investor community in recent times. The bond rates were going up. Many investors had subscribed to their last offering than expected. He added that this was a sign that they were doing great work that would pay off in the long term.

 

Mike was also asked to offer thoughts on how congestion could be reduced in Eagle Ford Shale. Heiligenstein proposed that they should use toll tags to charge the trucks that used the roads that were maintained by the county. Mike explained that those roads were not made to withstand the weight of the trucks. This was from his experience as a public official. He finished by stating that a financing tool funded by the tax would be of some benefit. This is because many of the counties needed financial assistance to develop and maintain some of the roads.

 

Mike Heiligenstein is the executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. He took up the position in 2003 after serving as a public official for 23 years. He joined CTRMA when it was founded. He has been instrumental in its success. CTRMA has developed major roads in the region including the 183A, the MoPac Express Lanes, and the 290 Toll Expressways under his leadership. He is the president of the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association (IBTTA). Heiligenstein is involved with several transportation committees in Austin including the Texas A & M Transportation Institute.

 

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