Mike Heiligenstein while on a visit to San Antonio for a Texas Department of Transportation forum shared some insights on Texas toll roads, such as the State Highway 130 and other issues affecting road conditions.
State Highway 130
While explaining why State Highway 130 was not often used, Mike noted that the Highway provided a long term solution rather than short term, considering that traffic from San Antonio to Austin is local. This means that through trucks and cars are not many and moving them to State Highway 130 would not solve anything. The best option would be to increase capacity at Interstate 35 though it seems impossible. He noted that it was impossible to expand the existing lanes in areas like Colorado River while cities and neighborhoods were reluctant to allow bigger footprints. Another solution would be to use other transport modes.
On the poor financial performance of toll roads, Mike pointed out that they do not provide the solution to get funds for construction. Therefore, people need to look for other options. He gave an example of the extension made on 183A, which was funded by user revenue. People are willing to invest their money for construction purposes as a program they started at Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority was oversubscribed ten times over. Austin and San Antonio have the potential for economic growth, and residents need to be looking at growing their future rather than waiting for someone else to build the facilities for them. Road deterioration caused by the Eagle Ford Shale could be solved by charging the trucks that use country roads. The problem, however, arises due to how the country roads are structured as they do not have the capacity to hold such weight. Another option would be to identify zones that can add production tax as a source of financing. Since the counties do not have a significant tax base, this can only be achieved with help from the Texas Department of Commerce.
About Mike Heiligenstein
Mike Heiligenstein has acted as a public official for over 30 years. He worked as a Round Rock City Council Member and a Williamson County Commissioner. Currently, he is the senior officer at Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Mike holds a degree and master’s degrees in Government and BA from the University of Texas.
Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA)
CTRMA is an independent multi-modal transport agency best known for the extension of toll road 183A. The agency focuses on improving the Williamson and Travis counties’ transportation system.
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