Mike Heiligenstein is the Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority in Austin, Texas. This independent government agency designs regional transportation networks that cater needs for the rapidly growing population in the region. Mike has been with the organization since the beginning when the cashless toll collection project was born.
At the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center, there was a discussion on how technology is changing our transport systems in the Austin region and globally. The members present were Leandre Johns, the Texas External Affairs Director, RideScout LLC, founder Joseph Kopser, Uber Technologies Inc., Argo Design’s Jared Ficklin, a transportation-based product developer and designer and of course Mike Heiligenstein.
He continued to say that the only way to serve the growing population in cities like Austin, especially in the suburbs, is increasing its transportation capabilities by constructing technically advanced roads.
When autonomous vehicles came up in the discussion, Mike was not very positive about it. He said that their adoption would be slow and tedious. Mike emphasized that focus on increasing the road’s capacity is still needed. He reasoned that Austin’s growth rate would cancel out any upgrades from the growing use of mass transit. He predicted that twelve lane roads on State Highway 290 and U.S. Highway 183, Austin, shall be needed
First- and last-mile solutions for Austin also came up in the discussion. Uber’s Johns argued that his ridesharing company could be fit for such a task. He continued to say that people need to see that they have an alternative to their cars when it comes to taking care of the first and last mile problem.
Heiligenstein has also engaged the MoPac project as part of the mobility solutions for the region. He recognizes the problem at hand, congestion in the area, and is very determined to offer practical solutions for it. He believes technology is the way forward as it curbs the current difficulties the region is facing.
Pedestrian and bicycle paths shall be provided for public use in upcoming and ongoing projects. It is worth noting that the solutions to the congestion issue should not be alienated from the people. The community should join hands and contribute where they can.
Mike Heiligenstein attended the 19th Williamson County Growth Summit to discuss transportation concerning the Texas suburbs. The suburban populace has grown in Williamson County and Austin, where more roads are needed to accommodate the influx of people. The existing roads have to be redesigned to be effective to carry more buses and other vehicles. Williamson County has kept up with the demands for its transportation system for more than 15 years.
Mike has predicted that 12 lane highways will accommodate the flow of new transplants into Texas. The State Highway 290 and U. S. Highway 183 are the selected roads to be redesigned. The Uber company and the transit system can work together to assist the passengers by sharing a ride when they arrive to get on or disembark public transportation.
The Mobility Authority has the power to develop and execute improvement plans for public transit, airports, seaports, and roadways. The independent government agency also has the authority to hire private contractors for their projects. Strategic financial planning is used to raise funding for projects and the Mobility Authority is allowed to issue bonds to investors and businesses.
Mike Heiligenstein became the Executive Director at the helm of CTRMA in Austin, Texas in December 2003. His leadership has proven fruitful with the Mobility Authorities program designed to stream $136.5 million in revenue with an accumulated $4 billion in assets by the year 2020.
The Williamson County 183A was the Mobility Authority’s toll project that became a cashless electronic toll operation. The southeast 290 Toll road mirrored the success of the first tool road and surpassed the revenue and traffic forecasts.
Mike has decades of working in the public sectors sharpening his observation, listening, and strategic financial planning skills to accommodate the people.
Mike Heiligenstein attended the University of Texas at Austin and received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Government.
Mike held the complex position of County Commissioner of Williamson County from 1989 through 2003 and then took the lead in the public infrastructure and environmental projects.
Mike Heiligenstein became the City Councilman to the City of Round Rock from 1980 through 1987 and assisted with managing capital improvement projects using more than $500 million in revenue.