Mayor Watson named to transportation leadership role

The President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors appointed Austin Mayor Kirk Watson to a leadership position on the Transportation and Infrastructure Standing Committee, where he will serve as the Vice Chair for Inter-Modal Transportation.

“Mayor Watson and Austin are on the cutting edge of transportation innovation, and I'm pleased to appoint him to a leadership position in the U.S. Conference of Mayors,” said Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Kirk has a history as a strong advocate for meeting multi-modal infrastructure needs and he will be a credible voice as we chart the future of transportation in our nation's cities.”

Austin is undertaking about $25 billion in new mobility infrastructure, including Project Connect, airport expansion, I-35 reconstruction, and other projects. Since taking office in January 2023, Mayor Watson has focused on delivering these generational infrastructure investments in a way that best serves our community.

“This important appointment is a recognition of how much good is going on in Austin in transportation,” Mayor Watson said. “From light rail to the airport expansion to major roadway improvements to the work on intercity passenger rail to addressing how we build the workforce so we can achieve our goals, Austin is seen as a leader in creativity and getting things done. I'm pleased and honored to be asked to play a leadership role in the U.S. Conference of Mayors.”

The Transportation and Infrastructure Standing Committee, chaired by Mayor Jim Hovland of Edina, Minnesota, leads the Conference’s advocacy work related to transportation and infrastructure policy programs to strengthen and rebuild the nation’s cities. Mayor Hovland said Mayor Watson is a “perfect fit” for this newly created position of Vice Chair of Inter-Modal Transportation, and highlighted Watson’s recent testimony before Congress:

“Mayor Watson has so much to offer the Conference and our country with his skills and abilities. He recently testified in Congress on inter-city rail and gave extraordinarily compelling testimony on its importance to our nation,” Mayor Hovland said. “So, Austin, thanks for lending our Conference a great helping hand in your outstanding Mayor, Kirk Watson. We are so grateful for his commitment.”

In the Texas Senate, Watson served as Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee for numerous sessions and was inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor in 2020.