On Thursday, NAIOP held a panel discussion near White Flint called Challenges for Sustaining Growth on Both Sides of the Potomac. Representatives from Maryland and Virginia and two economists discussed growth in the region, touching upon housing, jobs and the degree to which Maryland and Virgina see themselves in opposition to each other.
Economist Anirban Basu, Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, was both jokey and honest as he threw out a few statistics comparing Maryland and Virginia. Despite Maryland’s top class public school system, the state has fallen way behind Virginia in regards to unemployment and job growth. In the past decade, the Washington area gained 420,000 jobs. Of those, Fairfax County gained 32,800 and Loudoun County gained 39,500. Amidst the prosperity, however, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County actually lost jobs — 4,100 in MoCo and 4,900 in P.G. County.
Stephen Fuller, Director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, touched on housing. As the Center pointed out earlier this year, jobs are coming, people are moving in to take them, and it will be necessary to build up the region’s housing stock in order to accommodate this influx. He encouraged the group to think about the area’s transportation infrastructure when considering development, and lamented the fact that no one was thinking about this topic in regards to the region as a whole.
“We need a regional solution,” to growth, said Fuller. “The biggest challenge is finding common solutions. But we don’t have the structure to think regionally. Nobody is ramping up to do that.”
Basu also encouraged the group to take into account the coming drop in federal jobs, noting the loss of 2,000 jobs between December 2010 and December 2011. “The region needs to be looking for opportunities that have nothing to do with the federal government.”
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/challenges_to_regional_growth_discussed/5229
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