Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) believes that investment in mobility infrastructure is critical to the economic and social well-being of the citizens of Central Texas and supports decisions that will increase the capacity of our mobility systems using approaches that are effective, cost-efficient, protect the environment, and maximize mobility throughout the region. It is noteworthy that: Traffic congestion and affordability are the top concerns for Austin residents. Efficient mobility is essential to the movement of goods, delivery of public safety and other services, and the ability of residents to go to work. Austin’s travel time index outpaces peer communities and constitutes one of the worst traffic congestion situations in the U.S. Congestion costs commuters lost time, wasted fuel, and increased maintenance and adversely affects air quality and the environment. The population of Central Texas is growing and is expected to continue to grow, meaning congestion will only worsen, unless we do something now. Today, our community stands on the threshold of major transportation decisions. We invite local and regional elected leaders to embrace the following values in their decision-making: Sustainable environment: AARO considers a sustainable environment to be a fundamental element of the quality of life we all enjoy. We are grateful the Environmental Impact Statement process is integral to all major construction projects and trust the process to protect the natural environment Central Texans treasure. Roads are not “my” roads; they are “our” roads: Central Texas roadways belong to everyone - not just those who live in close proximity. It is unreasonable to force most north-south traffic onto I-35 when connectivity to MoPac via SH-45 SW would disperse the congestion and permit better mobility for everyone, especially those who cannot afford to live inside [...]
AARO Members Ms. Martha E. Smiley and Mr. Pete Winstead along with 2015 AARO McBee Fellow Ms. Sara Hickman have been recognized for their contributions to the region.
On February 25th, the E3 Alliance recognized AARO as an “Architect of Change” award winner for its work to build community accountability for education in Central Texas. “An Architect of Change is an individual or organization exemplifying true commitment to the regional collaborative change process and meaningfully impacting the goals of the Blueprint,” said Susan Dawson, President/Executive Director – E3 Alliance. In 2011, AARO created a Community Accountability Team in order to lead community engagement activities for E3 alliance and lead implementation of Blueprint Goal #4: Central Texas as a community prepares every child to succeed. AARO members and alumni attended E3’s Blueprint Summit on February 25th to receive the Architect of Change award. From left. Top Row: Leslie Weston, Alex Gonzales, Barbara Johnson, Khotan Shahbazi-Harmon, Richard Rhodes, Ashton Cumberbatch. Bottom Row: Ed Sharpe, Ali Khataw, Dick Fonte, Christopher Kennedy, Jeffrey Richard, Parc Smith, Jesus Chavez, Bret Champion, Carol Thompson, George Martin, Denise Trauth, Larry Earvin, Pete Winstead, Susan Dawson, Pete Dwyer, Carolyn Gallagher, Martha Smiley, Jon Sloan, Don Christian, Tom Cedel, Earl Maxwell, and Andy Martinez. [Current members (2015) in bold. Non-bolded names include AARO and E3 Alliance staff, McBee Fellows, and former members.
On February 26th, Austin Area Research Organization released “Drowning in the Central Texas Drought.” The White Paper provides facts about the current drought and Austin’s water supply, and asks, Given the current drought, does it make sense for Austin’s water supply to be solely depending on the amount of rainfall that enters the Highland Lakes? The document also provides recommended actions for the City of Austin. Click here to read “Drowning in the Central Texas Drought.” FACTS: 1) Central Texas is currently in the midst of a major drought. 2) Central Texas’ population continues to grow. 3) The City of Austin has only one source of water. THE BOTTOM LINE: If future rainfall runoff to the Highland Lakes mirrors the last four years, the lakes may contain only three to seven years of an adequate water supply, even with aggressive conservation. ACTION ITEM: The City of Austin and Lower Colorado River Authority should work together with a renewed sense of urgency to analyze conditions and evaluate new water supply options.
Ms. Tamara Atkinson, Ms. Marina Bhargava, Ms. Sara Hickman, Mr. Sly Majid, Mr. Mark Mayfield, Mr. Hondo Powell, Dr. Ruth Rechis, Mr. Miguel Romano, Mr. Bryant Smith, and Mr. Parc Smith.
On Monday, September 15, 2014, AARO members approved the following public statement in support of the City of Austin’s Proposition 1 Bond Proposal: The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) urges Austin voters to support the City of Austin’s Proposition 1 Bond Proposal in this November’s Election. AARO is a member-driven, non-partisan Central Texas business and civic leader organization with its members drawn from the highest levels of business, community, and civic leadership. Our regional leaders work together around strategic long-term issues to seek out information and facts, and recommend decisions that will shape the destiny of the Central Texas region and advance the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas. Today, our community stands on the threshold of a making a major investment that will require both our courage and our best strategic thinking. The proposed transportation bond initiative, Proposition 1, is the essential next step in a regional multimodal system of roads and rail that our families and future generations will depend on. Simply stated, it is an investment we must make. Citizens of every generation must take decisive action to ensure that future generations have the infrastructure needed to support or improve the quality of life that we have enjoyed. The Proposition 1 Bond Issue that the City of Austin has proposed in this November election is a critical decision-point for the long-term, sustainable economic future of Central Texas. Austin is the 4th worst congested City in the country. Austin is the 11th largest City in the country in one of the fastest growing regions. Efficient mobility is essential to the movement of goods and people, and delivery of public safety. Congestion costs commuters lost time, wasted fuel, and increased maintenance and [...]
On Monday, September 15, 2014, AARO members approved the following public statement in support of Austin Community College District’s Propositions 1, 2, & 3: The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) urges Central Texas voters to vote yes on the Austin Community College District’s Bond Propositions 1 & 2, and Proposition 3, the Maintenance and Operations tax cap question in this November’s Election. As an organization dedicated to advancing the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas, AARO is strongly committed to a system of public and higher education which is accessible to all Central Texans and meets the region’s growing and changing workforce demands. We understand that our region’s long-term success is directly connected to the quality of its education system, which directly benefits our residents and produces the workforce necessary to ensure economic prosperity. Austin Community College District (ACC) is a critical piece of Central Texas’ education system. ACC fulfills this region’s educational and workforce development needs in a variety of critical and innovative ways, such as: Workforce training, Early college/high school dual credit, Associate degrees, Career/technical certificates, Core curriculum/university transfer, and Continuing education. As business and civic leaders, AARO members have a vested interest in ensuring the region’s educational system continues to produce a high quality pool of talent to drive future business success and economic prosperity throughout the state. Access to high quality education at all levels is critical to the welfare of our region, and we are pleased that ACC provides many levels of these educational opportunities for Central Texans. In addition, AARO members recognize that there is a cost to ensuring quality throughout our region’s educational system. The long-term economic welfare of Central Texas requires that we find the [...]
On September 3rd, leaders from throughout Central Texas – including AARO members – gathered to remind the community that school attendance is a priority every day!
(1) Patsy Woods Martin was a winner at the Austin Business Journals Profiles in Power Luncheon (2) Carl Richie was selected as the 2014 National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Fellows (3) Earl Maxwell will be recognized with the Byron E. Cox Spirit of Caring Award on September 5TH (4) Charles Betts will be the special guest and honoree at the annual Friends of Front Steps Fundraiser Breakfast.
AARO contracted with the Ray Marshall Center to research the Central Texas regional labor market in order to identify occupations in growth sectors that pay well while requiring less education than a baccalaureate degree, probe preparedness and credentialing capacity, and investigate employer perspectives regarding growth and opportunity in these occupations.