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COG Board Releases Greater Washington 2050 Report for Comment

Oct 14, 2009

Washington, D.C. – The COG Board of Directors has approved for public comment a report by area leaders calling for a more integrated approach to regional planning to successfully accommodate an additional 2 million residents by 2050, compete in the global economy, and combat challenges like climate change, traffic gridlock, and disparities in public safety, health, and education. 

Region Forward © proposes a new, comprehensive vision for the National Capital Region based on 19 shared regional goals, short-term, mid-term and long-term targets designed to measure progress toward the goals, and a compact agreement for local governments to support and refer to when making decisions.  The report, which was authored by a coalition of public officials and business, civic and environmental leaders, says the region will achieve its goals when it meets targets such as:

  • Beginning in 2012, the region will capture 75% of new commercial construction & 50% of new households in Regional Activity Centers (including downtown DC, Rockville, Hyattsville and Reston) every year; 
  • All Regional Activity Centers will have transit accessibility (Bus or rail);
  • By 2020, the combined housing and transportation costs in Regional Activity Centers will not exceed 45% of area median income;
  • By 2020, all new residential & commercial buildings will be built using sustainable design practices equivalent to LEED Silver (green building) standards;
  • By 2050, 50% of all watersheds will be in good or excellent condition.

“Residents of the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia know our futures are interconnected,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, who served as Greater Washington 2050 Coalition Chair.  “With Greater Washington 2050, we have a plan that reflects our shared goals and demonstrates the many benefits of working together more closely.”

The Coalition developed the goals by selecting the best elements from local government visions, previous COG plans, a workshop that studied bold future scenarios, and public input from a survey of thousands of area residents conducted earlier this year.  To inspire action, local governments will be asked to support a compact agreement early next year.  While voluntary, the compact will motivate cities and counties in the region to pledge to use their best efforts to advance the goals. 

The report recommends that COG take on new responsibility to regularly measure progress toward the goals and survey area residents to determine if quality of life is improving.  It also directs COG to provide strategies and best practices to help area governments achieve the goals and targets. 

“There is growing agreement by area leaders that we have to change the way we do business, and these new goals, targets, and compact will help guide the way forward,” said COG Executive Director David Robertson. “In order to meet the complex and interconnected challenges of the 21st century, we have to be committed to a common vision and dedicated to measure our performance.”

The COG Board of Directors established the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition in early 2008 to build on what many people now believe is an opportunity for agreement on big issues of growth, transportation, and the environment. 

The report was approved for public comment at the COG Board meeting on October 14, 2009.  It was posted on the Greater Washington 2050 web site and has been circulated for comment through November 30, 2009 for review by COG members, stakeholders, and the public.  The COG Board expects to vote on the final report and recommendations in January 2010. 

To view the report or submit a public comment, please visit

COG is the association of 21 local governments working together for a better metropolitan region.



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