Regular Features: Social Media Updates | Upcoming Events/Meetings

COG News - March-April 2012

COG Board Hosts First Learning Session on Economic Growth and Competitiveness

Economic Growth and Competitiveness PlanAt its March meeting, the COG Board commenced its Economic Growth and Competitiveness Initiative by holding a "learning session" on how changes in federal spending will impact local, regional, and state economies. The session's featured speaker, Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, said that while metropolitan Washington led the nation in job growth for many of the past few years thanks to federal spending, it is now being outperformed by several metro areas in terms of job growth. Without cooperative action to diversify the region’s economy and reduce its reliance on federal spending and employment, Fuller predicts “very little economic growth in the region over the next decade.” The session concluded with Board members and Fuller noting the assets the region should build on to give it an advantage over other metro areas--an extensive public transportation system and vibrant centers of activity that attract young and diverse people and small business startups. For the April session, COG is inviting state and local economic development officials to discuss opportunities to better integrate economic development strategies.

COG Urges Congress to Maintain $150 Million Funding Commitment to Metro

In a letter to Congress approved at the March 14 Board Meeting, COG Board Chair Frank Principi stated the proposed reduction of $15 million in funding to Metro by the Obama Administration will “severely affect badly needed capital and safety improvements demanded by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Tri-State Oversight Committee, and WMATA itself.” The full federal share of $150 million had been appropriated in each of the previous three years. The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia have each contributed $50 million annually to match the federal funding. This ten-year, $1.5 billion agreement was approved by Congress and the regional jurisdictions in 2009.

Region Launches the Spring 2012 Street Smart Campaign in Prince George's County

Street SmartThe Prince George’s County Police Department and local elected officials gathered on March 28 in District Heights, MD to kick off the spring Street Smart campaign, a public awareness campaign to change motorist and pedestrian behavior and reduce pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries. “Motorists and pedestrians have a shared responsibility to be aware each other,” stated Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw. “Educated drivers, cyclists, and walkers are critical to our concentrated efforts to reduce fatalities on our roadways.” On average in metropolitan Washington each year, over 2,600 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured and 89 are killed, which accounts for 30 percent of the region's traffic fatalities.

Customer Satisfaction, Demand for rollDC Continues to Grow

rollDCrollDC, D.C.'s wheelchair accessible taxicab service, is an important piece of the District’s transportation network as evidenced by increasing demand for the service and high customer satisfaction marks according to a recent survey. Before rollDC was launched by the Transportation Planning Board through funding from the Federal Transit Administration, D.C. and two local cab companies, none of the taxis operating in the District were equipped with ramps to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Today, the two companies, Yellow Cab Company of DC and Royal Cab operate 10 wheelchair accessible taxicabs each. As the initial funding for the pilot period nears its end in December, D.C. officials are considering ways to continue or expand the service, which transports 400 area residents and visitors with disabilities a month. NBC's Viewpoint program on April 1, 2012 focused on both Street Smart and rollDC's wheelchair-accessible cabs. Guests included City of College Park Council Member Patrick Wojahn (also a TPB member), George Branyan of DDOT, and Robert Coward of Direct Action.

rollDC and Street Smart on NBC4's Viewpoint

COG Annual Report/Regional Directory Available for Download

2011 Annual Report 2012 DirectoryThe 2011 annual report chronicles COG and its members' work to improve the region's management of snowstorms and other incidents, develop a new regional HIV/AIDS strategy, help area families facing foreclosure find counseling, and plan for greater use of electric vehicles and solar power. The report is accompanied by COG 's 2012 regional directory of area government officials and agencies.

Social Media Updates

COG Earth Month Social MediaThis April for Earth Month, COG will be featuring green initiatives by its members on the COG Facebook page and Region Forward blog. Topics will include green fleets, recycling, green building, farmers markets, local agriculture, green space, energy conservation, water and air quality, and more. If you have suggestions, please contact skania@mwcog.org.

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.

April 11: COG Board of Directors
April 14: 24th Annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup (multiple locations)
April 17: Infrastructure Banks for Metropolitan Washington (at the George Mason University School of Public Policy)
April 18-22: Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC)/Leadership Involvement Networking Knowledge (LINK) Visit
April 18: Transportation Planning Board
April 19: Mobile Apps for Local Government
April 20: Greater Washington Board of Trade's Potomac Conference

About COG

For more than 50 years, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, known as COG, has helped develop solutions to issues of regional importance. COG is an independent, nonprofit association comprised of elected officials from 22 local governments, members of the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, and members of the U.S. Congress. The Metropolitan Memo is sent to COG’s membership of over 250 local, state and federal elected officials as well as regional stakeholders and citizens.
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