Economies, along with housing and labor markets, operate regionally. Two-thirds of the District’s daytime workers live either in Virginia or Maryland and commute in. Transportation systems carry them across local jurisdictional lines. Housing affordability is a challenge shared region wide. Yet acting in concert across jurisdictions—to make sure these regional systems are running smoothly—can be a challenge.
Last week the 2030 Group hosted its Fourth Annual “Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Economic Future” to discuss how Maryland, Virginia and the District can forge a common action plan to keep the region competitive. The Federal City Council was prominently featured.
FC2 Trustee and Chairman Ed Walter spoke on a panel about housing affordability. He acknowledged that no city in America has figured out the perfect solution. But there are some cities that are taking creative approaches. Los Angeles is mandating the construction of affordable and workforce housing near any new transit connection. Minneapolis has up-zoned nearly all of its single-family home neighborhoods. In metro DC, the Washington Housing Initiative is a great example of cross-jurisdictional cooperation where private investors are taking the lead to preserve and produce workforce housing.
Maura Brophy, FC2’s Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, talked about how the city can plan for new transportation technologies. FC2’s New Mobility Initiative will look at everything from electric scooters to autonomous vehicles, and how they can be adopted safely and efficiently. A big question is space allocation. Traditionally the curbside, for example, has been used for parking. But maybe it should instead be a zone for ride-sharing pickups/dropoffs, idling for deliveries or bikes and scooters. At the same time, older transportation options like Metro can be strengthened with more money and more accountability for capital investment decisions.
FC2’s COO Kevin Clinton sat on the final panel that zeroed in on business leadership. The Federal City Council has always operated under the assumption that complex problems require everyone—government, business and community leaders—be brought to the table. And FC2 was instrumental in setting up the MetroNow Initiative, which is a success story of regional cooperation. Stakeholders from across the region solved a problem for which there was already a broad consensus and that came with a deadline for action (in order to qualify for federal funding).