The executive director of Regional Mobility Authority from Central Texas attended a forum in San Antonio to discuss infrastructure. Heiligenstein was asked questions about the state of toll roads in his area and the bypass in Austin. He also answered questions on whether the Eagle Ford Shale’s roads could be improved by the pay-for-use plans.
Mike Heiligenstein was asked why Texas drivers were not utilizing the highway 130. That the concession company dealing with the highway has, in two occasions, been downgraded owing to the low traffic numbers is something Mike was required to answer.
In his response, Mike said that state highway 130 was an interesting study. He went on to say that interstate 35 was almost unsolvable as far as the next 20 years rising demand goes. Heiligenstein responded by saying that in many areas there was no way of getting more lanes on the present footprint. Indeed he said many cities were not willing to accept a larger footprint whether vertically or even horizontally.
Mike said that from areas such as San Antonio all the way to Austin, the traffic was 85% local/regional. Mike asserted that the solution was not just in moving trucks across State Highway 130, but instead to figure out ways of adding capacity and to change the travel behavior. He said that the State Highway 130 was a long term strategy that had considered the potential increase of vehicles and trucks on Austin roads.
Mike was asked whether there was justification owing to the poor performance exhibited, as a result of the high gas prices and poor economy, by the toll roads over the past years.
Mike responded that toll roads were not the only answer to the congestion and traffic issue. He said the debate over efficiency of these roads cannot be wished away since the authority needs all the tools it can get. He said that in Austin the authority has leveraged dollars over the $1 billion mark for construction and that the 183A extension was funded in entirety by user revenue.
Mike is the Executive Director of the Regional Mobility Authority based in Central Texas. His authority is determined to ease traffic in the entire Austin area. Mike has a BA from Texas University and also holds a Masters Degree in business administration and governance. With the partnership of cities and departments of transportation, the Texas Authority is determined to ease traffic and decongest the area.
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