Bob Buchanan, leader of the 2030 Group, started the group’s third annual Roadmap event on April 30th by stating “What a difference a year makes!” There was a feeling of excitement as the attendees celebrated the success of full funding for Metrorail in Maryland, Virginia, and DC this year, and having three sites in contention for Amazon’s HQ2 selection. ULI Washington has participated in the regional efforts over the past five years, and the positive movement is heartening and motivating.
The 2030 Group is an organization of Washington Metropolitan area business leaders focused on advancing regional solutions that enable a strong regional economy, strengthen continued employment opportunities, sustain economic development, and ensure high quality of life for current and future residents. The group partners with nonprofits, universities, and local governments to move the agenda forward. This year’s meeting set a congratulatory and hopeful tone for successes achieved in the past year and increased commitment for regional collaboration in the coming years.
Speakers at the event ranged from local economic development directors to members of the MetroNow coalition and leaders of regional organizations. There was discussion of the Amazon HQ2 search and how it created a strong impetus for regional cooperation. The general opinion is that if one of the three finalist jurisdictions is selected as the location, the entire region will benefit and need to work cooperatively to accommodate the growth and investment in HQ2. Chuck Bean from the Council of Governments stated that “A win for one is a win for all.”
The MetroNow Coalition’s advocacy work brought together a group of regional leaders, spearheaded by Anthony Williams from the Federal City Council, who achieved the goal of permanent financing for the Metrorail system. This coalition was cited as the most successful regional project undertaken in decades. While Metro still has additional work to be done to guarantee the success of the system into the future, the dedicated funding will allow the agency to focus on its current and future challenges.
There was a discussion of the need to create future regional leaders to keep the impetus for regional cooperation moving forward. The importance of bringing the energy, intelligence, and commitment of the next generation into the conversation was highlighted by Doug Duncan from Leadership Greater Washington and Nate Cole from the Urban Alliance.
Stephen Fuller from George Mason University provided a roadmap update. He highlighted the net growth of jobs in the region and how those jobs have changed, primarily through a loss of federal jobs and growth in the business and hospitality sectors.
Regional leaders on the final panel discussed the next big challenges that the growing coalition will work on – creating a sustainable housing affordability, improving the region’s mobility to enhance access to jobs, improving housing affordability at all levels, and marketing the region to reflect the dynamism that exists here.
If you are interested in knowing more about the 2030 Group and regional collaboration, go to http://the2030group.com/. If you want to add your voice to the work at ULI Washington on regional issues, contact Yolanda Cole, Chair, ULI Washington (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lisa Rother, Executive Director of ULI Washington (email@example.com).