"Earlier today I informed the commission of my plans to retire as TxDOT Executive Director at the end of May. This will coincide with the end of the legislative session and will give the commission the time needed to select the next Executive Director. This timing will also give the next Executive Director the longest amount of time possible until the next legislative session. It has been the honor of a lifetime to be a member of the TxDOT family since the summer of 1985 and to represent the women and men of TxDOT these last five-plus years."
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) Board of Directors has named Bass as the organization’s new Executive Director. Bass will succeed Mike Heiligenstein, 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 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.
“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."
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. His collaboration with local, regional, state, and federal agencies and commissions has led to successful multi-modal transportation solutions and relationships with industry leaders and elected officials.
“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.
“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,” Bass said.