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Recently Mike Heiligenstein, who works for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), attended the Texas Department of Transportation forum. At the event, which was held in San Antonio, the executive director talked about the state’s increasing infrastructure needs. The San Antonio Business Journal fielded a number of questions to the Mobility Authority head. Among the questions, Heiligenstein was requested to discuss the future of Texas’ toll roads, including Highway 130. He was also asked if pay-for-use arrangements could enhance road conditions in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Mike contended that the credit rating of the concession company for State Highway 130 (SH 130) that picks up close to San Antonio was downgraded twice by Moody’s due to the low traffic numbers. Heiligenstein was asked why drivers in Texas were not using SH 130. He noted that SH 130 was an interesting case study. Mike said that Interstate 35 is unsolvable given its subsequent 20 years of increased demand. In several places like the Colorado River in Austin, additional lanes cannot be developed in the existing footprint. From San Antonio to Austin, the traffic is manageable, as it is 85 percent regional. According to Heiligenstein, the solution is not just to relocate cars and trucks to SH 130, but to identify different ways that can enhance road capacity, augment the multi-modal objectives, and change travel behavior. While talking about I-35, Heiligenstein asserted that they had met the enemy, which was everybody! SH 130 is a long term endeavor. They are already witnessing a surge in both car and truck demand in the Austin area.

While responding to a question regarding the poor performance of several toll roads due to high gas prices and whether a case can still be made on toll roads, he suggested that toll roads are not the only solution. According to him, they should be provided with all the necessary tools to be in a position to enhance the performance of the toll roads. Heiligenstein remarked that in Austin, they managed to leverage public dollars into a plan that presently exceeds $1 billion in construction. Their last extension of 183A was supported by user revenue without any tax dollars.


About Mike Heiligenstein

Mike Heiligenstein is the current executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Mike has been rendering his services for the multi-modal transportation agency since 2003. Through his visionary leadership, he has been able to enhance the growth of the corporation into a nationally respected leader in matters of toll road operations. The Mobility Authority developed its initial toll road 183A under Heiligenstein’s leadership. In addition, he optimized its efficiency and executed modern technologies like all electronic tolling.


Follow Mike Heiligenstein on Twitter.



Planning for an advanced and modern transport system for a city is a tedious task that demands future insight, technological expertise and above all intuitiveness. If you are considering a rapidly growing US state like Austin, then things can get even more challenging. Faced with such a challenge, Mike Heiligenstein, the Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority had a fruitful meeting with some policy makers and transport experts on December 15, 2016. In the meeting, they discussed the present traffic condition of Austin and its suburban areas, evaluated different technological solutions and proposed different plans to develop a sustainable and effective transport system for Austin.



Traffic and transport have been two burning issues for Austin which is one of the busiest states in the country and with a rapidly rising population things are getting even worse. With this backdrop, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) was formed in 2002 which has been working y to develop the transport system in two prominent counties of Austin which are Williamson and Travis. The authority has been developing and implementing a number of intuitive and multi-modal transport solutions through the private sector contractors over the years and made a number of significant achievements in keeping the transport system running with less congestion, enhanced quality of life without compromising economic vivacity.








The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is governed by a seven-member committee of Board Directors under the leadership of Mike Heiligenstein appointed as the Executive Director. Mr. Heiligenstein has intensive expertise on local communities along with one Bachelor and two Master degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the CTRMA, he served as the County Commissioner of Williamson County and as the City Councilman of Round Rock. In addition to his position at Executive Director in CTRMA, Mike is also involved with Texas A&M Transport and other groups who are working with transport issues.



The participants in the meeting discussed some ideas to meet the future transport need of these countries through technology. They considered technological solutions such as driverless vehicles which seemed a feasible solution but might not appropriate at this moment. Other alternative solutions such as rideshare through Uber was considered quite effective for the time being. However, according to the participants, a behavioral change among the people is a pre-requisite for this solution to succeed. Nevertheless, Mike strongly advocated that Austin needs more and smarter roads along with more options for the commuters to deal with its future transport need and challenges.