At its January meeting, the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) elected Loudoun County Supervisor Matthew Letourneau as its Chairman for 2018.
Letourneau has served on the COG Board since 2012, including as Vice Chairman. He also served as COG Corporate President in 2014.
“I appreciate the opportunity to chair the COG Board and look forward to a productive year working on regional priorities,” said Letourneau. “COG is a unique institution that provides an important forum for addressing regional issues from Metro’s ongoing challenges to public safety.”
Prince George’s County Council Member Derrick L. Davis and District of Columbia Councilmember Robert White will serve alongside Letourneau this year as Vice Chairmen of the board.
The board also endorsed several legislative priorities for the year, such as supporting the region’s transportation funding, including new dedicated funding for Metro, water quality, climate and energy innovation, air quality, workforce development, human services, and emergency preparedness.
Letourneau outlined an additional focus for the board in 2018—enhancing the region’s approach to managing major traffic incidents.
“Traffic congestion is a continuing challenge for this region, particularly when caused by crashes or other serious incidents,” said Letourneau. “This year, we’ll work across jurisdictions and disciplines at COG to enhance our ability to detect, respond to, and clear these types of incidents, further improving safety and mobility for residents, and making a positive economic impact.”
The Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination Program (MATOC) estimates that approximately 100 regionally significant events occur each month with the potential to cause major traffic delays. Almost daily, the region experiences an incident that necessitates a coordinated, multi-agency response. Examples of these types of events might be a hazardous waste spill on the highway or a multi-vehicle crash cleanup and investigation.
To begin the work of identifying opportunities for enhancing regional traffic incident management, the board endorsed the formation of a regional task force made up of subject matter experts from across the disciplines of transportation and public safety.
Under Letourneau’s leadership, the board will also explore safety in public buildings.
The Board of Directors is COG’s governing body and is responsible for its overall policies, functions, and funds. Board members are appointed each year by the participating local governments and by caucuses of state legislative delegations from the region.
COG is an independent, nonprofit association that brings area leaders together from 24 local governments to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
MORE: View documents from the meeting, including the Traffic Incident Management Focus Area Proposal