Car in Pieces

A Recap of 15 Minutes With Mike Heiligenstein

The San Antonio Business Journal covered a forum about the problems related to Texas infrastructure. These problems with infrastructure within Texas are in need of attention and discussion. This forum was created for the Texas Department of Transportation where Mike Heiligenstein, the Executive Director of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, came to discuss this very topic. Within this talk, he answered a number of questions regarding toll roads that were beginning to be used in Texas and also how these toll roads may have the ability to bring an improvement to the road conditions along State Highway 130 as well as in the Eagle Ford Shale. Here is a look at three of the questions that were asked and answered by Heiligenstein within the forum.


One of the first questions that people asked Heiligenstein was about why the drivers in Texas haven’t been using State Highway 130. His answer was simply that Interstate 35 has had much more demand. The traffic between Austin and San Antonio is predominantly local traffic. The way that he suggested that they improve the use of Highway 130 is to make it be multi-modal. There needs to be more capacity. There needs to be an overall change in travel behavior. These are the ways to increase the demanded use of Highway 130 by both cars and trucks.


The next question asked involved the financial situation of Texas. Many toll roads didn’t get as much financial support as was originally hoped because of higher prices in gas, and because of the weaker state of the economy. Mike Heiligenstein answered simply that there are more answers than just using toll roads. However, toll roads are definitely one of the options for solving these problems. There has been a lot of money put into using toll roads in Austin, and this revenue has actually been able to surpass the money put into construction.


The third question asked if toll roads would be able to help with the congestion on the roads because of the traffic created by trucks in the Eagle Ford Shale. One solution that Heiligenstein suggested was that there be a charge placed on trucks through tags that resemble tolls. These would charge the trucks that choose to use county roads. The problem of the deterioration of the roads, though, is a continual problem. Another option suggested was that they have a specific zone for production.


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