The Start of a Coalition?

May 23, 2012
By The 2030 Group

On May 22nd, the 2030 Group hosted a meeting for many business leaders and regional organizations from across the Metropolitan Washington area, urging them to take a larger role in regional leadership and cooperation. Some 75 attendees featured members from Urban Land Institute, Federal City Council, NAIOP’s Virginia and Maryland Chapters, Maryland and Virginia’s Transportation Alliances, Washington Airports Task Force, Maryland and Northern Virginia’s Building Industry Associations, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and several others.

In its 3 ½ years of operations, the 2030 Group has generated a lot of good research, analysis and surveys.  We have identified a number of needs which must be addressed if our region is to sustain the prosperity and quality of life we have come to love and expect.  Yesterday’s meeting served as an important step towards building a business coalition because no one group can do it alone.  It will require tremendous will to enact significant change in the areas of transportation and housing. If anything meaningful is going to happen, the business community has to be more proactive, unified and supportive.

The Metropolitan Washington region lacks any short list of well-defined transportation priorities in highway, bridge and transit projects that might do the most to relieve traffic congestion. To attempt to break the political gridlock, fill this void, and better define the region’s core transportation needs, the 2030 Group is seeking proposals from highly respected independent transportation firms. Those proposals will identify and quantify the costs and benefits of 10-12 regionally significant and game-changing transportation projects that over the next 20-30 years would do the most to ensure future regional mobility, prosperity and competitiveness.  Such proposals would also include funding strategies for these investments in transportation infrastructure.

Another important initiative is how to present workforce housing and housing policies in general that are a critical component of the region’s future economic growth to local governments so that they will formulate and adopt comprehensive housing policies to accommodate our future workers.

Yesterday’s dialogue proved one thing: the private sector and its leadership are very concerned that the status quo is unacceptable when it comes to significant infrastructure needs and the ability to house our future workforce so that this region can continue to compete and prosper. Now more than ever, I hope that this group of business leaders, this potential coalition, is ready to unify under the banner of regional prosperity and initiate a candid, strategic, and results-based dialogue on how to get our region where it needs to be.

Our elected leaders should pay attention, too.

The dialogue initiated yesterday continues here today. Read some of our guest bloggers’ posts. Comment. Join the regional discussion. We’re all in this together, and only with a robust, healthy dialogue can we find the solutions to keep our region prosperous.