He said that increased congestion, coupled with deferred maintenance on infrastructure across the country, means there is a fair amount of catching up to do.
Kumar’s academic background made him stand out as a candidate to take over as director, said Chelsea Schultz, a senior planner for the Waco MPO who served as interim director before Kumar was hired.
“He seemed really well-rounded, and we liked what we heard about his time as MPO leader in Jackson and his expertise in economic development,” Schultz said.
She said Kumar also had a grasp on what Waco’s growth means for the region’s future.
“Because of our position in the Texas triangle, Waco has an important role to play regionally,” she said, referring to the triangular region formed by the Texas population centers of Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and the highways that connect them. “The MPO can offer even more services than we currently do.”
Kumar said the Texas Department of Transportation is in the middle of conducting a travel survey on Waco that will focus on locations including Baylor University, local hospitals and Magnolia Market.
“This travel survey typically ends up forming a good basis for us thinking through a next metropolitan transportation plan that we put together,” Kumar said. “This is a major, very important input into our understanding of what the mobility challenges are going to be in the future.”