Mobility Authority Announces Appointment of New Executive Director, James Bass
(Austin, Texas)— The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) Board of Directors today named James Bass as the organization’s new executive director. Bass currently serves as executive director for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and will succeed Mike Heiligenstein at the Mobility Authority, who has led the organization since 2003. Bass will begin his new duties once Texas’ 87th Legislative session concludes; until then, Chief Financial Officer Bill Chapman will continue serving as interim executive director.
Bass has had a long and distinguished career at TxDOT, beginning in 1985, when he worked summers in its Fort Worth District office. While earning his bachelor's degree in accounting at the University of Texas at Austin, he worked part-time as an engineering aide in the Austin District's South Travis/Hays County area office. Throughout the years, Bass has risen through the ranks and taken on roles such as finance division director, chief financial officer and ultimately executive director in 2016. His decades of experience leading a partner agency to the Mobility Authority and his state-level focus on improving the quality of life for all Texans make him uniquely positioned to lead the organization into its next chapter.
“After an exhaustive search and months-long interview process with dozens of highly-qualified candidates, it became evident that James Bass was unequivocally the best fit to drive the Mobility Authority forward,” said Bobby Jenkins, Board Chairman of the Mobility Authority. “James stood out not only for the relationships he brings to the table and his successes in bond programs, public-private partnerships and work at the Legislature, but most importantly, for his integrity and passion. He is incredibly personable with high moral character; we are thrilled he has chosen to bring his immense talent to our organization.”
At TxDOT, Bass has led the organization through creating and maintaining more than 196,000 lane miles of roads, while supporting aviation, rail, maritime and public transportation across the state. In 2017, he was at the helm when TxDOT went through a Sunset Review process with the Texas Legislature, where the department was authorized for another 12 years. In total, Bass has managed the issuance of more than $24 billion in bonds across various programs, including revenue bonds and private activity bonds. His collaboration with local, regional, state and federal agencies and commissions has led to successful multi-modal transportation solutions and long-lasting relationships with industry leaders and elected officials, which he will bring to the Mobility Authority.
“James has been an excellent leader at TxDOT in a variety of senior positions for nearly four decades. Externally, he has implemented programs and solutions that have made our state less congested and more economically viable. Inside the organization, he has led change to make the work environment more professional and more inclusive,” said J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission. “While we understand James’ decision to retire from TxDOT, we are proud of his achievements here and look forward to continuing our partnership as we seek to improve transportation throughout Texas. We appreciate James’ dedication to continue as executive director at TxDOT through the end of the 2021 Texas Legislative session, and we appreciate Chairman Jenkins and the Mobility Authority Board for allowing this to occur.”
2020 proved to be an inflection point for transportation in the region. Between the Mobility Authority’s 183 expansion and 290/130 Flyovers projects, the passage of Capital Metro’s Project Connect and significant funding for I-35’s Capital Express Central project, Bass will transition into the agency at one of the most pivotal times for mobility in Central Texas. The board of directors is confident that Bass will be an influential leader among his peers and shepherd the agency into the new decade.
“I have watched the growth of the Mobility Authority with admiration since its creation and have had the pleasure of playing a small role in the delivery of many of its projects over the past 20 years. I am honored to now play a more integral role as executive director and will fulfill my duties with pride,” said Bass. “Of course, I want to say thank you to all of the dedicated and talented women and men of TxDOT who have allowed me to be a part of an incredibly special team for so many years. I am encouraged that this is not goodbye, but rather an opportunity to continue our important work together in a different way.”
About the Mobility Authority
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is a local, independent government agency created in 2002 to improve the regional transportation system in Travis and Williamson counties. The Mobility Authority implements innovative and sustainable transportation options to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in Central Texas. The Mobility Authority operates 183A Toll, 290 Toll, the 71 Toll Lane, the MoPac Express Lane, the 45SW Toll Road, and the 183 Toll Road. The agency is finishing construction of the 8-mile 183 South Project and the 290/130 Flyovers Project. For more information about the Mobility Authority, visit www.MobilityAuthority.com.