COG News - April 2013

Area Leaders Launch Street Smart Campaign

Street SmartBetween now and mid-May, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists throughout the region will hear and see reminders about how to stay safe and avoid traffic accidents as warmer spring weather and longer daylight hours bring more people out on foot and on bicycles. On April 9, area leaders, including District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray and Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada, gathered in Northeast D.C. to launch the Council of Governments’ regional Street Smart campaign. This year's campaign -- "tired faces" -- features individuals whose faces have been symbolically blemished by a tire tread as a way to call attention to the dangers confronting pedestrians and bicyclists. As it enters its eleventh year, Street Smart is now a truly regional initiative, as all 22 of the local jurisdictions that belong to COG contribute to the public awareness safety campaign.

COG Leaders' Congratulate Maryland Lawmakers on Transportation Bill

Karen YoungThe new Maryland transportation bill passed during this year’s legislative session has been welcomed by local leaders at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, who have strongly urged lawmakers to increase revenues for the region’s transportation system. "Maryland’s new transportation funding bill is positive news for our state and the metropolitan Washington region as a whole,” said Karen Young, Chairwoman of the Council of Governments, and president pro-tem of the City of Frederick Board of Aldermen. The region’s Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at COG also sent a letter this week to Maryland lawmakers thanking them for their leadership and dedication in reaching a successful outcome. In December 2012, the TPB sent a letter to state lawmakers calling for additional transportation funding and highlighting successful funding strategies that have been enacted elsewhere in the country.

COG Board Adopts Resolution Ending Controversy on Gun Violence Issue

At its April meeting, the COG Board of Directors approved by a wide margin a resolution that resolved a controversy over an earlier vote addressing the gun violence issue. The resolution, which passed 26-2 with one abstention, encouraged member jurisdictions to individually or collectively share their opinions on gun violence with state and federal legislators. It also directed a COG committee to examine issues related to gun violence, including mental health and school safety.

FBI Competition Might Make Headlines, but Area Leaders are Committed to Cooperation on Many Economic Issues

Region Forward blogAt an April 11 forum organized by the DC Chamber of Commerce and Washington Business Journal, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, U.S. Congressman Gerry Connolly VA-11, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker discussed regional cooperation, specifically in regards to economic development. While the panel did not reach consensus on the appropriate location of the new FBI headquarters, they did express interest in greater cooperation on transportation planning, affordable housing, and even land use coordination, which will strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness and advance the Region Forward vision.

Air Quality Committee Urges Action on Cleaner Gasoline, Higher Vehicle Emissions Standards

Leta MachArea officials on the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) approved a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency to propose and finalize a rule to enact new low sulfur gasoline and reduced vehicle emissions standards this calendar year. In the letter, MWAQC Chair and City of Greenbelt Council Member Leta Mach noted the region has made great strides in cleaning the air and that the new rule would help officials immensely as they implement strategies to meet and/or maintain federal air pollution standards. Two days after the meeting, EPA officially proposed these new regulations.

Regional Campaign Calls Attention to Workplace Recycling

Go RecycleThe Council of Governments' Go Recycle Campaign is running advertisements on several local radio stations from April 15-28 to empower and educate residents to extend their home recycling practices into the workplace where at least 50 percent of all waste is generated. People are directed to a web site, a Facebook page, and a toll-free phone number (877-GoRecycle) for more information about how to improve recycling at work.

2013 Bike to Work Day will be Largest Regional Event Yet

Bike to Work DayRegistration is open for the region’s increasingly popular Bike to Work Day at Last year, a record 12,700 people registered for the event. This year’s Bike to Work Day will be bigger than ever with more than a dozen new pit stops added, for a total of 72 in the region offering cyclists refreshments, entertainment and giveaways as part of the celebration. Bike to Work Day, organized by COG’s Commuter Connections program and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), prompts thousands of area commuters to bicycle to work to highlight and promote a clean commute option.

New Publications - 2013 Directory/2012 Annual Report & IMR Oversight Report

Regional DirectoryThe combined Council of Governments' 2013 Regional Directory and 2012 Annual Report, and the Final Report of the Incident Management and Response (IMR) Oversight Committee are available for download on the COG web site. The directory/annual report lists the phone numbers and email addresses of area government officials and highlights major regional initiatives in 2012. The IMR Report summarizes significant progress in several areas of incident management and response, including information sharing among officials, messaging to the public, updating employee release policies, and prioritizing backup power for critical infrastructure.

Upcoming COG Meetings/Events

For more information on the following featured meetings/events, visit the COG Events Calendar. In addition to these events, the calendar lists all meetings of COG policy and technical committees as well as some meetings of other regional organizations.

May 2: Clean Air Partners Annual Awards and Celebration
May 4: 22nd Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony Honoring Fallen Corrections Officers
May 8: COG Board of Directors
May 15: Transportation Planning Board
May 17: Bike to Work Day
May 17: Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee
May 22: Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee

About COG

The Council of Governments is an independent, nonprofit association where area leaders address regional issues affecting the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. COG's membership is comprised of 300 elected officials from 22 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and U.S. Congress. The Metropolitan Memo is sent to this membership as well as regional stakeholders and citizens.
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