On March 13 and March 19, the Transportation Planning Board welcomed more than a dozen staff of local elected officials from across the region to the latest session of the TPB's Community Leadership Institute, or CLI.
The two-day workshop engaged participants in experiential learning activities and group discussions to better understand how transportation decisions are made throughout the Washington region, including at the local, state, and regional levels.
This was the twelfth CLI session since the program began in 2006. But it was the first time the event has been geared toward the staff of local elected officials, a group of people who are in a unique position to assist leaders in considering regional needs when making decisions for their local communities.
The CLI curriculum focuses, in particular, on the regional lens through which the TPB approaches transportation planning and decision-making, emphasizing the shared regional challenges and opportunities that all jurisdictions in the metropolitan area jointly face. CLI aims to help participants connect the interests of their local communities with these broader regional planning issues.
The main interactive group activity in the most recent CLI emphasized the crucial link between transportation and land use, and highlighted the challenge of accommodating future growth in the region given anticipated funding constraints.
In the first part of the exercise, groups each proposed on a map where to locate nearly 700,000 new households and more than 1.3 million new jobs that are expected in the region by 2040, and what transportation improvements would need to be made to accommodate that new growth.
Groups then had to confront the region's funding challenges in the second part of the activity by adding up the costs of their proposed improvements and identifying sources of new funding to pay for them.
Another key element of this spring's CLI was a panel discussion focused on the role of citizen advocacy and the leadership of elected officials in helping move transportation projects forward. The panel featured short talks about the Silver Line in Virginia, Capital Bikeshare in the District of Columbia, and the Route 1 Ride enhanced bus service in Maryland.
This spring's CLI session took place on the same days as the regularly scheduled meetings of the TPB's Citizens Advisory Committee and ofthe TPB itself. This allowed participants to observe two of the key monthly meetings in the TPB process, where individuals from across the region's many jurisdictions come together to discuss issues and share ideas.
The TPB meeting, in particular, provided a key opportunity to learn about the regional transportation planning process, as the Board was briefed on and discussed the draft project submissions for the 2014 update to the region's Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan, or CLRP.
This spring's CLI was facilitated by Kathy Porter, a former mayor of the City of Takoma Park and a former Chair of the TPB. Porter currently serves on the Board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the region's Metrorail and Metrobus system.
The date of the next Community Leadership Institute has not yet been set. However, the workshops typically take place in the spring and fall. The next CLI will be geared toward the program's usual audience: individuals active in groups that have been recognized as forces of change in their respective communities, including civic and homeowner associations, business and advocacy organizations, and local citizen advisory boards. TPB staff will select participants from a pool of applicants who have either been nominated by local elected officials or who have chosen to apply individually in response to an invitation by the TPB.