The Williamson County Growth Summit was recently held to discuss transportation challenges in suburban areas. This summit was different from other discussions that usually focus only on Austin city traffic problems. It was hosted at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center. The summit was headed by Mike Heiligenstein, the director of Central Texas Mobility Authority. Joseph Kopser, Leandre Johns, and Jared Ficklin also directed the forum. It was themed on the relevance of technology in transportation.
Heiligenstein pointed out that new technologies have significantly transformed the transport sector. In his argument, he gave examples of ridesharing apps such as Uber and driverless cars. He said that Austin city requires investments targeted on expanding transportation services. This investment should target the rapidly growing traffic demands by Austin’s residents. Heiligenstein also highlighted the growing needs in Williamson County as a suburban area. Leandre Johns of Uber also spoke at the summit. He said that commuters living in Austin enjoy quick transport services. He also pointed out ways in which Uber is providing such services.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA)
CTRMA is a government agency that runs independently and was founded in 2002. The institution focuses on improving transportation modes in Travis and Williamson counties. CTRMA is headed by a board comprising of seven members. The governor appoints the chairman of the board, Williamson County court appoints three members. In addition, the Travis County appoints the remaining three members.
Heiligenstein currently holds the executive director position at CTRMA. He took over as executive director in 2003 after outclassing seven other finalists. He oversees the agency’s strategic planning initiatives. He has a bachelor’s degree as well as two master’s degrees. Heiligenstein worked for Round Rock City Council before joining CTRMA for eight years. He also worked as a country commissioner for Williamson County for 15 years. He uses his in-depth knowledge in business administration to manage operations of CTRMA. His mission is to boost the transportation infrastructure of Williamson County.
He is a member of the board of directors for International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. He previously was an active participant as the Chairperson of The National Association of Counties Air and Water Quality Subcommittees. In 2009, Mike Heiligenstein was appointed to work in the Texas Transportation Institute Advisory Council.