Many have tried, all have failed. But yet another group is trying to promote cross-border cooperation within greater Washington to overcome our region’s chronic east-west economic divide.
The new initiative comes from Connected DMV, a broad coalition of leaders from government, business, higher education and philanthropy. The organization formed in 2019 to encourage our fragmented area to collaborate to promote “socially responsible economic growth.”
●Area jurisdictions should market themselves together as a region, rather than compete with one another to attract businesses. It shouldn’t be Fairfax vs. the District, but instead greater Washington vs. Boston, Silicon Valley and London.
●The region needs a common “brand” to promote its assets and fight its image as a government swamp. (A 2017 effort to do so failed to raise sufficient funds.)
●The area should build its capacity in high-tech industries of the future, such as pandemic response, hydrogen fuel and quantum computing.
●A broad-based effort is needed to improve educational and job opportunities for lower-income residents — most of whom are racial minorities — especially in the region’s eastern half.
The effort is timely because the pandemic recession has rendered more glaring the region’s racial and economic inequities. The report includes a map with data portraying a dramatic regional divide in which residents east of Interstate 95 have significantly less upward mobility than those to the west. The disadvantage is most acute in majority-Black communities in Prince George’s and the District east of the Anacostia River.
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