The infrastructure industry has been a significant topic in San Antonio. Mike Heiligenstein the chief executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority attended transportation department forum to discuss the changing infrastructural needs of San Antonio city. Mr. Heiligenstein gave his opinions regarding the State Highway 130, the future of toll roads, the bypass around Austin and the status of congestion with the new pay-for-use arrangement (State Highway SH 130).
Toll Roads and the State Highway 130
The transportation industry experienced low financial performance due to the increased prices for gas and weak economic. Consequently, there seemed to be a case to be made about toll roads. Heiligenstein denied these assumptions stating that toll roads were not the only solution they had for the poor performance. The ministry of transport managed to leverage public user revenue to fund the 183A extension fully. The investor community did their research to verify the information given. He added that San Antonio and Austin were special places that attract a large number of investors. The growth projected for the two towns is long term and sustainable especially after the construction of the bypass around Austin. The debate whether toll roads would make a case were therefore unsubstantial.
The Toll-Type Tags
Heiligenstein mentioned that the toll roads would help eliminate the traffic congestion and deterioration brought by truck traffic e.g. in the Eagle Ford Shale. The county roads lacked structural integrity to withstand the truck traffic weight and demand. The ministry has set up a program to install a system of charging vehicle using toll-type tags.
It was reported that low traffic number had downgraded the rating of the State Highway 130 two times in a row. The citizens wanted to know the reason why Texas drivers avoided using 130. Heiligenstein rubbished the insinuation that the use of 130 was not efficient, he explained that they needed to create methods of adding capacity and making travel behavior multi-modal. He concluded with appreciating the use of SH 130 stating that it was a long-term play and its fruits were already evident.
The central Texas regional mobility authority was built in 2002 as a nonpartisan government agency. They plan key transportation elements such as the multi-modal system to meet a diverse mobility need in the society. Mike has worked with the organization since its inception. Currently, Mike works as the president of international turnpike, tunnel and bridge group. He is a former public officer for the Williamson Citizen’s County. He seats on the board A &M Transportation Texas Advisory Institute.
Follow Mike Heiligenstein on twitter @mheiligenstein.