COG News - February 2013

COG Forecast: Region to Number Nearly Seven Million in 2040

Sharon BulovaNew figures from the Council of Governments show the region’s population nearing seven million by 2040. The addition of more than 1.6 million people between 2010 and 2040 would represent an increase of 32 percent for metropolitan Washington as a whole. Board members asked how these projections align with COG's Region Forward vision, which advocates for growth and development to occur in mixed-use Activity Centers. They also stressed the need for well coordinated land use and transportation decisions. COG Board Member and Fairfax County Chairwoman Sharon Bulova was quoted in the Examiner saying, "Growth happens whether you want it or not. It's not that we grow, but how we grow. Fairfax County, I think, is wisely preparing for that growth and doing so in a way that is trying to accommodate our future growth in areas that can be supported by mass transit. I think that bodes well for the future of Fairfax."

Council of Governments, Board of Trade Call on Congress to Stop Sequestration

Letter to CongressOver the past several months, the Council of Governments and Board of Trade have been strongly advocating against the automatic, across-the-board federal cuts known as sequestration. As the latest sequestration deadline approaches on March 1, the two regional organizations have teamed up to ask Congress to prevent the automatic cuts, which will have a debilitating effect on an already fragile economy. Their joint letter notes the negative regional impacts of sequestration, such as a direct loss of up to $12 million in federal FY 2013 in Metro’s dedicated capital funds. Sequestration will also adversely affect local bond ratings, which will disrupt much needed public works projects.

Gaithersburg Working to Meet Region Forward Targets

City of GaithersburgThe City of Gaithersburg’s work making transportation, housing, and energy improvements to help meet Region Forward targets was highlighted in a recent article in the Gazette. The article features several elected officials from the city that are also active with the Council of Governments.

Study Reveals Area Residents’ Opinions on Congestion Pricing, Transportation Funding

TPBIn January, the Transportation Planning Board released What Do People Think About Congestion Pricing? which focused on the public’s views of strategies aimed at reducing congestion and raising revenues for transportation. During deliberative forums, participants were presented three scenarios: priced lanes on all major highways, pricing on all roads and streets using vehicle-based GPS systems, and priced zones for entering designated areas similar to London and other cities. After learning and talking about the issues, particpants were skeptical of several options but did express support for pricing at least one lane on area highways (61 percent). A majority of participants also supported increasing the gas tax (57 percent). The TPB carried out the research in partnership with the Brookings Institution. The study was funded through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Value Pricing Pilot Program.

Steven Chu, Chuck Bean, and Business Leaders Discuss Electric Vehicles at Washington Auto Show

Steven ChuCOG’s Executive Director Chuck Bean joined U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and many others to speak at the Washington Auto Show’s Public Policy Day on January 31 to discuss ways to promote electric vehicles. The following day, the Council of Governments hosted a forum at the Auto Show focused on making the business case for electric vehicles. One panel featured representatives from companies large and small – including Capitol One, MOM’s Organic Market, and FedEx – discussing how and why they’re investing in EVs

Coalition Launches Updated Region Forward Site

Region ForwardAt its January meeting, the Region Forward Coalition announced the launch of an updated web site with more on what the Coalition is working on, such as Activity Centers, as well as blog posts on a wide range of regional issues.

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.

March 13: COG Board of Directors
March 20: Transportation Planning Board
March 22: Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee
March 27: Climate Energy and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC)
March 27 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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