ULI Washington News

Recap: Leadership Institute Day 2, Infrastructure and Transportation

Day Two of the ULI Leadership Institute took place in Shady Grove, Maryland.  The day’s theme was Transportation and Infrastructure, and the setting was Montgomery County’s new Equipment Maintenance and Transit Center.

The group began with a roleplaying game called “You’ll Pay for This”.  Breakout groups considered a scenario involving a large business relocating to the group’s city.  In order to lure the company, the city government agreed to fund some infrastructure improvements and needs to adjust an already-tight municipal budget and raise some additional revenue.  Each group presented their proposed plan to finance the improvements and the other groups asked follow up questions.

Montgomery County transportation planners presented the Bus Rapid Transit plan for the county including two BRT lines that are already in the pipeline.  An mTAP from last year’s Leadership Institute specifically focused on the Veirs Mill Corridor and BRT and one member of that group presented their findings.

After lunch, the group went on a tour of the bus maintenance facility.  The facility is LEED Gold certified and has many innovative features. The building is designed with green roofs and captures and reuses rainwater.  At this facility, hundreds of county buses can fill up with gasoline, compressed natural gas, and diesel fuel.  There is also a nice outdoor roof deck and indoor amenity space for staff to enjoy on breaks.

A Regional Transportation Panel was moderated by David Zaidain (Amtrak) and included 4 panelists:  Dr. Terry Clower (GMU), Vicki Davis (Urban Atlantic), Allison Davis (WMATA), and Amanda Murphy (Federal Railroad Administration).   They discussed proposed changes at Union Station, the Long Bridge, and Walter Reed as well as issues related to regional planning, NEPA, parking, increasing bus ridership, online shopping, and more.  There was a question and answer session with a lively discussion.

At the end of the day, ULI Member Len Forkas presented his personal experience with his young son’s cancer and a major fundraising endeavor involving a bike race across America that he has done twice to raise money for his organization, Hopecam.  He described the traits he thinks make a great leader and recounted a few incidents where things went wrong and how he persevered over adversity.

Next month the group will meet for Day 3 – Demographics and Housing in Hyattsville.

Blog Credit: Anne Fothergill, DC Office of Planning

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