Head of Central Texas tolling agency resigning after 16 years of leadership

Mike Heiligenstein (left) takes the last vehicular trip on the Montopolis Bridge in East Austin in October 2018. Heiligenstein is stepping down from executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which closed the historic bridge as part of its US 183 South toll project. The bridge is being refurbished and will be used by bicyclists and pedestrians when it reopens. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
Mike Heiligenstein (left) takes the last vehicular trip on the Montopolis Bridge in East Austin in October 2018. Heiligenstein is stepping down from executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which closed the historic bridge as part of its US 183 South toll project. The bridge is being refurbished and will be used by bicyclists and pedestrians when it reopens. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

Mike Heiligenstein (left) takes the last vehicular trip on the Montopolis Bridge in East Austin in October 2018. Heiligenstein is stepping down from executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which closed the historic bridge as part of its US 183 South toll project. The bridge is being refurbished and will be used by bicyclists and pedestrians when it reopens. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board met Jan. 29, the day that Mike Heiligenstein (fourth from left) announced his resignation as executive director. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
After 16 years of overseeing projects such as the MoPac express lanes and Toll 183A, the executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority announced Jan. 29 he is stepping down.

In 2002, the Texas Legislature created the agency to develop regional transportation options. Mike Heiligenstein was named the executive director the following year when the agency became operational. He said in a news release that the job has been his most rewarding.

“I’m humbled to have served beside our board and staff, and I have never been more confident that the Mobility Authority is poised for incredible growth and continued success,” he said in a statement. “As I close this chapter of my life, I look forward to applying the experience I’ve gained here and the best practices I’ve learned to successfully deliver major infrastructure projects, which could benefit many other organizations across the state and country.”

Heiligenstein plans to remain in his role until the agency transitions to a new leader.

“Mike's commitment to improving mobility and air quality will long be felt in the region,” said state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, in the news release. “Involved in the Mobility Authority since its inception, he has been integral to shaping the organization and its commitment to effective community engagement that helps create projects the community not only wants but can be proud of. Mike has embraced our community values—from leading edge environmental standards to the inclusion of bike and pedestrian paths along the roads—and he ensured they have been integrated in each project the agency has delivered.”


The Mobility Authority oversees toll projects such as Toll 183A in Cedar Park and Leander, Toll 290 in East Austin, the MoPac express lanes in Austin, and SH 45 SW in South Austin and northern Hays County. Most projects have also included bicycle and pedestrian improvements, such as trails and sidewalks. The agency has built more than 230 lane miles under Heiligenstein’s leadership and is planning another 155 lane miles.

The Mobility Authority’s board of directors selects the executive director. The governor names the board chair, and the Travis and Williamson county commissioner courts each select three members to sit on the board.

Leadership on the agency’s board has changed in recent years, with the most recent change in August when Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Bobby Jenkins as the board chair.

“Mike has been the absolute driving force behind the success of the Mobility Authority for more than 15 years,” Jenkins said in the statement. “His vision, knowledge and leadership have made the Mobility Authority an incredibly valuable organization that has made a significant impact in dealing with traffic congestion in Central Texas. We are all extremely grateful for Mike's dedication and passion in leading the Mobility Authority and we wish him well as he enters retirement.”

Prior to leading the Mobility Authority, Heiligenstein served in Williamson County as county commissioner in Precinct 1. He also served on Round Rock City Council, including as mayor pro tem, according to the Mobility Authority website.
SHARE THIS STORY

Amy Denney



MOST RECENT

The Texas Transportation Commission will consider a plan Feb. 27 to add $4.3 billion to fund an I-35 improvement project through Central Austin. (Courtesy TxDOT)
TxDOT poised to secure $4.3B for I-35 improvements in Central Austin

The Texas Transportation Commission will consider a plan to provide the funding for the project at its Feb. 27 meeting.

New vegetarian Indian restaurant coming to Northwest Austin

Indian restaurant chain Namma Veedu Vasanta Bhavan is coming soon to Austin.

Williamson County Sheriff's Office, Williamson County Commissioners Court
Williamson County detective asks for better mental health help for deputies on administrative leave

The detective told the Commissioners Court officers were purposely cut off from communication with the office as part of their administrative leave punishment.

Williamson County EMS, Shantelle Dunn Brannon
Williamson County Emergency Management names first female deputy director

Shantelle Dunn Brannon began the job in late January.

Dallas-based men's fashion retailer Mizzen+Main is now open in Domain Northside. (Courtesy Mizzen+Main)
Mizzen+Main now open in Domain Northside in Northwest Austin

Dallas-based men's fashion retailer Mizzen+Main is now open in Domain Northside.

Vancouver-based fashion house Aritzia opens Northwest Austin location in The Domain

Canadian fashion brand and boutique Aritzia opened its storefront in The Domain in early February.

Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education opened a new location near the Four Points area in December. (Courtesy Cultivate Behavioral Health)
Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education opens clinic near Four Points

The clinic provides Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for Austin-area children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Austin ISD trustees met Feb. 24 for a board meeting at the new Austin ISD headquarters in South Austin. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Preliminary budgeting presentation shows Austin ISD could again face spending deficit in fiscal year 2020-21

The district is anticipating its next budget will include a spending deficit of about $16.3 million.

Repeal of straight-ticket voting could mean longer lines ahead in Travis County this fall

The Texas Legislature repealed straight-ticket voting in 2017, but the change was not implemented until this year. In November 2018, more than 60% of county voters chose the straight-ticket option.

Saccone's Pizza & Subs returns to Northwest Austin on Feb. 29 with the opening of a new store at Market at Lake Creek. (Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)
Saccone’s Pizza & Subs to return to Northwest Austin

Saccone’s Pizza & Subs returns to Northwest Austin on Feb. 29 with the opening of a new store at Market at Lake Creek.

Peace Lutheran Church Preschool marks 20 years in Northwest Austin

Peace Lutheran Church Preschool is celebrating its 20th anniversary this academic year.

Taqueria Guadalajara on North Lamar Boulevard
Taqueria Guadalajara in North Austin reopens after renovations

Taqueria Guadalajara reopened its restaurant in early February after renovations.

Back to top