While the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) is a well-known entity within Williamson and Travis counties, most people don’t know what exactly the Texas agency does and what it is. The CTRMA was created in 2002 as an independent government agency. It is not a tax authority and garnishes most of its funding through investments and public sources. The CTRMA’s assets have gone from nothing to $1.8 billion and are used to finance the improvement of transportation; toll road constructions, traffic lane expansion, and other projects.
The CTRMA offers residents apps to assist them. They run HERO, the Highway Emergency Response Operator; an app made for stranded motorists on Interstate 35 and U.S. 183. In 2015 alone, the CTRMA helped almost 15,000 stranded motorists by helping to do things like delivering water to those stranded while they wait for tow trucks, removing debris from the road, changing tires, and relocating disable vehicles. The CTRMA also uses CARMA, a ridesharing app and Metropia, a traffic congestion alleviator.
There are many projects in Texas that the CTRMA is responsible for. In addition to creating toll roads, they are responsible for projects like the MoPac Improvement Project. This project adds a toll lane along each side of the highway on North MoPac Boulevard. For the 11-mile project, costs are expected to be around $200 million. This large project is being done in the hopes of steering drivers clear of the congestion on MoPac’s normal lanes.
The CTRMA has become extremely detrimental; its agency head gets paid more than the Executive Director at the Texas Department of Transportation. As Executive Director of the CTRMA, Mike Heiligenstein earns a whopping $366,112 per year, while the Director at the Texas Department of Transportation receives only $299,812.
Mike Heiligenstein has served as an elected official for Williamson County for more than 20 years. He has helped lead efforts in expanding transportation, water, and water infrastructure. He has been leading the CTRMA since it became operational in 2003, hand-selected by the CTRMA for the position.
He was selected as the President of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) and has been active on the boards at the WTS Heart of Texas Chapter and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Mike Heiligenstein has chaired the Clean Air Force of Texas and helped lead many other community infrastructure initiatives. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas.
Follow him @mheiligenstein