AARO Priority Issues
AARO Priorities and Committees

AARO advances policies to enhance the economic and social well-being of Central Texas by engaging regional leaders in data-driven deliberative action, built on a foundation of data, and shaped by wisdom, vision and dedication to our region's future in five priority areas: Health, Education, Social Equity, Transportation and Water.


The Bold Idea: Designing a better model of cancer care for the uninsured in Central Texas counties outside of Travis
lacking a healthcare tax base for patient care

  • 2004: Backed a petition drive to hold the successful referendum creating the Travis County Healthcare District (now Central Health).
  • 2012: Learned about the need for a 4-year academic medical school for the region and Members, acting individually, supported the successful referendum to increase funding for Central Health, which led to the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 2021: In partnership with Central Texas Addressing Cancer Together (CTX-Act) relaunched the Big Pink
    Bus mobile mammography unit brining cancer screening to underserved communities.

 In 2022

Continue to build on the progress of the Breast Cancer Initiative by securing additional funding for
cancer screenings and treatment for uninsured women in Central Texas. Explore new focus areas to
develop the next program of work.


Research Focus: Increasing the percentage of low-income students of color accessing and completing postsecondary

2006: Incubated the Education Equals Economics (E3 Alliance), a regional, data-driven education
collaborative based in Austin, Texas, helping to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country
to drive regional economic prosperity

In 2022

Members will continue listening sessions with Central Texas students, parents, education professionals
and workforce development experts to identify groundbreaking opportunities to increase student success.

Social Equity
The Bold Idea: Dismantling institutionalized racism and systemic inequities in Central Texas

  • 2014: Sponsored research identifying 2,720 annual openings for jobs that pay at least $18/hour and require a one-year certificate or two-year college degree, i.e., positions suitable for graduates of ACC’s Career Accelerator program.
  • 2010-present: Co-authored “Building and Retaining an Affordable Austin,” which led to City of Austin housing bonds and policy changes to increase the city’s affordable housing supply.

 In 2022

Members will work in partnership with regional public safety stakeholders to establish a Center for
Excellence in Policing. The Center will advance a holistic approach to professional development for
police officers based on data and research.

The Bold Idea: Enhancing regional planning, coordination and investment in mobility infrastructure and systems

  • 1981: Driving force behind voter approval of the northern and southern extensions of MoPac.
  • 1997: Partnered in winning county commissioner support for right of way acquisition for SH-130.
  • 1997-present: Consistently supported increased funding to provide strategic connections and expansion of the Central Texas roadway system and other multi-modal enhancements to improve regional connectivity and mobility.

 In 2022

Members will continue their long-standing support of Project Connect and the Capital Express Central
Project to reconstruct I-35, while seeking ways to improve regional governance, Austin-San Antonio connectivity and the MoKan corridor.


Research Focus: safeguarding long-term water sustainability in our region.

  • 1999: Urged the City of Austin and Lower Colorado River Authority leaders to negotiate a 50-year water supply deal which culminated in the $100 million water agreement guaranteeing Austin’s water supply through 2050.
  • 2011: Supported construction of the City of Austin’s Water Treatment Plant #4 as backup support for two aging treatment plants.
  • 2011-present: Co-developed/co-sponsored the annual Central Texas Regional Water Conservation Symposium.

 In 2022

Members will conduct a study to better assess Central Texas’ water supply and seek opportunities to improve regional water governance.

AARO News and Research
AARO’s priority issues are the most important issues facing Central Texas. Stay up to date here.