Infrastructure problems are a major concern throughout the United States as roads, bridges, and power systems age and need to be repaired or replaced. In central Texas, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) was created in 2002 to deal with such problems in Travis and Williamson counties.
The CTRMA has a governing board comprised of seven members, three members appointed from Travis and Williamson County and the chairman appointed by the Government. Currently, Mike Heiligenstein serves as the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, appointed by the governing board in 2003.
Although the CTRMA has no ability to tax, it does have condemnation authority. Over 70% of its funding comes from private sources by selling investment bonds on the stock market. The remainder comes from public sources with the Texas Department of Transportation supplying the majority. Its assets have increased since 2002 to over $1.8 billion.
CTRMA is a national leader in providing innovative solutions to traffic congestion and resulting problems. It also runs the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) which assists stranded motorists, thereby keeping traffic moving. HERO assisted over 14,000 stranded motorists in 2015 from changing tires to moving stalled vehicles.
Other innovations CTRMA made include Metropia, an app designed to relieve traffic congestion by motivating users to travel during less congested times. It also developed CARMA, a ridesharing app for drivers who are traveling the same route.
Under Heiligenstein’s direction, the CTRMA developed its first toll road 183A implementing new technologies such as video billing and all-electronic tolling. He has also worked hard to provide bicycle and pedestrian facilities whenever possible in agency projects. Additional agency projects include extending the 183A toll road, completing the 6.2 mile Manor expressway, and improving the MoPac Expressway which serves Austin, Texas.
Heiligenstein is nationally recognized as a leader in infrastructure problems, particularly transportation, and often speaks to groups across the United States concerning solutions to infrastructure problems. After receiving Bachelors degree in Government and later completed a Masters in both Government and Business Administration from the University of Texas, he served as Round Rock City Council member and Williamson County Commissioner. Presently he serves on the boards of the Texas Transportation Institute and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.
Follow him @mheiligenstein