The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) was created in 2002 in order to improve the transportation system in the Central Texas counties of Travis and Williamson. There are a few functions that the authority does that most people aren’t aware of.
The first thing that many people don’t know is that the CTRMA is an independent government agency. The authority has no taxing ability to exercise and makes 70% of its income by selling investment bonds on the stock market. Since the authority was created its assets have increased from nothing to $1.8 billion which is used to finance new transportation projects and maintenance throughout the two counties. The remainder of its income comes mainly from the Texas Department of Transportation. Another thing to know about the CTRMA is that it has 7 board members of which 3 are appointed by the Williamson County Commissioners court and 3 by the Travis County Commissioners Court. The Executive Director position, which is occupied by Mike Heiligenstein, is appointed by the Governor of Texas.
The CTRMA operates the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) which helps stranded motorists, removing road debris, and otherwise helps keep traffic flowing. They also have free roadside assistance and travel apps in order to help motorists. CTRMA will have the $200 million MoPac Improvement Project completed in June of this year. This 11-mile project is adding toll lanes in both directions on North MoPac Boulevard which should lead to road congestion relief in the area around it.
Mike Heiligenstein has been the Executive Director of the authority since it was created. He has also served citizens in the region through his long career of public service. He served for 15 years as a Williamson County Commissioner and was a Round Rock City Council member for 8 years. In addition to his work with the CTRMA he is on the Advisory Council for the Texas Transporation Institute. He also serves a board member for the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association and the Advisory Council for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Among the other boards that Heiligenstein has a position on includes the Advisory Board of the WTS Heart of Texas and the Texas Technology Task Force. Heiligenstein earned two master’s degrees, one in Government and the other in Business Administration, from the University of Texas.
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Political Action Committee, End Citizens United (ECU) announced on February 28th, 2017 the organization has received $150,000 in financial contributions. The funds were donated from small donors in Atlanta and the State of Georgia to support the political campaign for Jon Ossoff. He is running to represent the State’s 6th Congressional District, and was officially endorsed by ECU on February 22nd. In Georgia and Atlanta, a total of 110,000 members joined the organization to support its campaign finance reform and to elect Mr. Ossoff because of his strong stance on the issue. He is one the pro-reform political candidates willing to work to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United vs FEC case.
The Court decision permits corporations, billionaires, and special interest to spend unlimited and untraceable money in political elections. End Citizens United was established in August 2015 to work towards overturning the ruling and make contributions more transparent and accountable. ECU is based in District of Columbia and raised over $2 million from small donors at the time of its launching. Richard Carbo, the PAC’s Communications Director told MSNBC News the organization raised between $25 million to $30 million, by the end of 2015. At the time, more than 325,000 people signed ECU’s petition demanding Congress to pass legislation to reverse the 2010 Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Citizens United.
End Citizens United said the ruling gave power to Super PACs and created an enormous wave of dark money into politics. March 1st, 2017 is the organization’s anniversary date in action promoting the change of political elections landscaping in the United States. ECU and its members are prepared and willing to fight against corrupted political systems by electing campaign finance reform focused politicians. The organization believes it’s the key to building an extensive coalition and forces lawmakers to end dark money in politics. Two years ago, the PAC endorsed 11 Democratic candidates in Colorado, Wisconsin, and other U.S. states.
Today, End Citizens United continues to endorse Democratic candidates, including Jon Ossoff who are actively advocating campaign finance reform in America. If Ossoff wins the election in Georgia, he will represent the 6th Congressional District and do what he can to influence lawmakers to pass legislation. ECU is unlike other PAC campaign finance reform focused organizations and is committed to electing pro-reform candidates and raising national awareness of the issues involving deceptive political financial systems. Overturning the 2010 Supreme Court ruling is first on ECU’s agenda, followed by raising donations and implementing new legislation to end buying elections. The mission is to push voters, candidates, elected officials, and the press to fight against Citizens United.
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