Trusted Austin broadcast journalist and community leader Neal Spelce interviews Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein about community concerns over proposed Express Lanes on MoPac Boulevard between Slaughter Lane and downtown Austin.
An Open Letter from Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein
You may have heard some discussion in the community about the Mobility Authority’s MoPac South Project, an Environmental Study to improve 8.7 miles of south MoPac from Cesar Chavez Street to Slaughter Lane. Well, the Mobility Authority has too. We have been studying options to address increasing congestion on this important route to downtown Austin since 2013.
We believe it’s important to allow more time for us to evaluate options and for the public to fully understand the plan and provide input. In addition to the extra Open House, we will be holding special neighborhood meetings and issue specific workshops to listen and share information.
Why are we proposing this project, you may ask? The Mobility Authority took on the MoPac South Study as part of a special transportation funding initiative by the Texas Legislature, which identified the corridor as one of the most congested in Texas. If we do nothing, travel times from Cesar Chavez to Slaughter Lane will quadruple by 2035. Additionally, this route is included as a priority in the CAMPO long-range transportation plan for the region, and the Mobility Authority is the transportation authority charged with implementing this project. We recognize the significance of constructing a project like this over an environmentally sensitive area – specifically the Edwards Aquifer. I assure you that we are working to find the right solution that meets the needs of commuters while protecting our environmental and cultural resources.
Both state and local leaders recognize the need. So do the more than 130,000 commuters who travel this corridor daily. However, some community members opposed to the project have called the credibility of our agency into question, and made it their goal to disseminate misinformation about the project. To help you better understand the MoPac South Environmental Study, our team has prepared a special fact sheet about the project. I encourage you to take a few moments to review it, and share it with neighbors, friends and colleagues.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, we thank you for the confidence and trust you have placed in the Mobility Authority. We are dedicated to the task of tackling our region’s number one challenge: traffic congestion. It’s not an easy task, and we couldn’t do it without you.
Executive Director, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority
Click here to download a MoPac South Project Fact Sheet