Area Economic Development Officials Provide Input to COG Board
In the second learning session on Economic Growth and Competitiveness, COG invited Economic Development Directors from Loudoun, Arlington, Montgomery and Charles Counties as well as representatives from the State of Maryland and District of Columbia to discuss whether different economic strategies throughout metropolitan Washington can be better aligned into a focused, regional approach and, if so, how. Panelists were widely in agreement that the region can do more to support its manufacturing industry and to commercialize the research coming out of federal and private laboratories and its many universities. Both Terry Holzheimer (Arlington) and Steve Silverman (Montgomery) cautioned against viewing local competition negatively; competition, they argued, is what makes each jurisdiction strive to do better. They suggested a focused marketing strategy to promote the assets of each of the region’s jurisdictions. The next session on May 9 will focus on the region’s competitive advantages, as well as more discussion on the topics of air cargo and research commercialization. It will feature speakers from the Board of Trade, Chesapeake Crescent, and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
Bike to Work Day 2012 Looking to Break Another Participation Record
On Friday, May 18, Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA )will sponsor the region’s twelfth annual Bike to Work Day to promote bicycling as a viable transportation alternative for Washington area commuters. Nearly 12,500 people are expected to participate, and 58 “pit stops” will be set up throughout the region to welcome cyclists and help celebrate the day’s events. Participation has grown significantly since the first regionwide Bike to Work Day began in 2001, from just a few hundred people in its first year to nearly 11,000 in 2011. As part of Bike to Work Day, a variety of support services and online tools are provided by Commuter Connections, WABA, and other regional partners to help those interested in commuting to work by bike, including free Bike to Work guides, cycling classes offered by WABA, and an online Bike Path Finder tool that helps users find the best cycling routes.
COG, Clean Air Partners Sponsor Weather Line for D.C. Area Residents
Residents of metropolitan Washington can dial (202) 589-1212 for current weather and air quality information and forecasts. According to its new sponsors, COG and Clean Air Partners, the weather line has already received approximately 170,000 calls since January 2012. "The weather line has been a valuable, free service for area residents for several generations, providing timely weather forecast information including during severe storm events,” said Stuart Freudberg, Director of Environmental Programs at COG. “We are also pleased to expand the service to inform the public on the region’s air quality.” COG has been providing regional air quality forecasts since the 1970s, and the Clean Air Partners program educates people on ways to reduce air pollution and protect their health. The line encourages callers to visit www.cleanairpartners.net to sign up for Air Quality Alerts, a free service that sends air quality information by email to subscribers.
Leaders, Experts Examine Potential for Regional Infrastructure Bank
COG joined a number of regional organizations to co-sponsor an event by Our Nation’s Capital on infrastructure funding. Speakers at the April 17 forum, which was held at the George Mason University School of Public Policy, stressed the overwhelming economic impacts of inadequate transportation and environmental infrastructure on economic productivity and competitiveness. One potential strategy would be the creation of a regional infrastructure bank that would issue bonds and use these funds to pay for upgrades – from toll roads to streetcars, to water treatment plants. Thirty-five states and territories, including Virginia, have forms of infrastructure banks in operation. Jonathan Gifford, Director of Research at GMU said that working together to create a regional Infrastructure Bank would ensure our bridges, trains, and water pipes run smoothly.
In April, COG asked its members to share ways they are making metro Washington greener and more sustainable.
Throughout the month, COG posted these initiatives and events on its social media pages (Facebook and Twitter) and on the Region Forward blog. The blog also featured several other posts on green topics, including:
For more information on the following featured meetings/events, visit the COG Events Calendar. In addition to these events, the calendar lists all meetings of COG policy and technical committees as well as some meetings of other regional organizations.
May 8: Clean Air Partners Annual Celebration
For more than 50 years, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, known as COG, has helped develop solutions to issues of regional importance. COG is an independent, nonprofit association comprised of elected officials from 22 local governments, members of the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, and members of the U.S. Congress. The Metropolitan Memo is sent to COG’s membership of over 250 local, state and federal elected officials as well as regional stakeholders and citizens.