Area Community Leaders Gather to Learn About, Discuss Regional Transportation Decision-Making

Dec 8, 2014

Nearly two-dozen community leaders from around the Washington region gathered recently for the Transportation Planning Board’s thirteenth Community Leadership Institute (CLI) to learn about and discuss how transportation decisions are made in the region and how community leaders can become more involved in the decision-making process.

Among the recent CLI participants were elected members of local advisory boards, staff of local governments and elected officials, representatives of business and advocacy organizations, and graduate students from area universities.

Participants engaged over the course of three days in numerous experiential learning activities and group discussions to share ideas and build a greater shared understanding of regional transportation issues.

One of the main interactive group activities emphasized the crucial link between transportation and land use and highlighted the challenge of accommodating future growth in the region given ever-present funding constraints.

Members of the Fall 2014 CLI collaborate on a mapping activity.

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 forecast to come to the region between now and 2040. Participants were also asked to specify what transportation improvements would need to be made to accommodate the growth patterns they proposed.

Groups then had to confront funding constraints in the second part of the exercise by adding up the costs of their proposed improvements and identifying sources of new funding to pay for them.

The activity provided an opportunity for participants to share knowledge and diverse perspectives from different parts of the region in developing a cohesive regional transportation and land use strategy.

Another way participants got to learn about different parts of the region was by experiencing them first hand. The first day of the workshop was held in College Park, Maryland, the second day in Alexandria, Virginia, and the third in the District of Columbia.

On the first day, TPB Chair Patrick Wojahn, who represents the City of College Park on the TPB, welcomed participants and talked about how he became involved in the transportation decision-making process as a city councilmember and later as a member of the TPB. In Alexandria, TPB Vice-Chair Tim Lovain spoke about his city’s efforts to work with neighboring jurisdictions to expand transit options to include bus rapid transit (BRT) and streetcars.

This fall’s CLI was facilitated by Kathy Porter, a former mayor of the City of Takoma Park and a former TPB Chair. Porter currently serves on the Board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the region’s Metrorail and Metrobus system.

CLI got its start in 2006 as a way to help leaders connect the interests of the local communities and organizations they serve with the challenges facing the entire metropolitan area.

The date of the next Community Leadership Institute has not yet been set. However, the workshops typically take place in the spring and fall. TPB staff selects 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.

For more information about the TPB’s Community Leadership Institute, visit www.mwcog.org/CLI.

 
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