U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, (D -VA-11), today told a group of metropolitan Washington’s elected officials and community groups to continue working to win more federal support for the area’s Metro transit system and advocating for improved community developments such as the Tysons area in Fairfax County.
In an energetic address, Connolly used the transformation of Tysons and the expansion of the Metro rail system to Dulles International Airport as examples of major steps that will transform the region and give area residents more housing and transportation options. He said the federal government should do more to support the Metro system because its workforce is the system’s biggest beneficiary. He called the development of Metro an “extraordinary” regional achievement, and cited the region’s success at reducing air pollution caused by ozone a “signal achievement.”
“Believe in the power of what you’re doing,” he told the audience, which gathered at the National Press Club to discuss strategies for advancing land-use and transportation needs. “You are making a difference and the end result has been and will be transformative.” Noting that it took 47 years after Dulles Airport opened before there was an agreement to connect it with the Metrorail system, Connolly said “We can’t wait another half century for infrastructure investments in this region.”
During the meeting that followed Rep. Connolly’s speech, the participants identified their main priorities for regional transportation and land-use. They said they favor “improving the accessibility to and within the area’s Activity Centers by offering a variety of transportation options,” and also “developing a dedicated regional funding stream” to help support transportation needs.
Today’s event, “Economy Forward: Help Shape the Future of the Region,” was a facilitated, interactive discussion sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, that engaged more than 100 area leaders on the issue of how to align economic growth with the development of Activity Centers and the transportation system. This fall, the Council will unveil an Activity Centers Strategic Development plan and the Transportation Planning Board at COG will release its Regional Transportation Priorities Plan. Both plans are identified a top priorities in COG’s Economy Forward plan, which was released last year.