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The Federal Role in Regional Economic Development

Madam Chair, Chairman Oberstar, Congressman Graves, and distinguished Members of this Subcommittee, I am pleased to be here. This subcommittee has the responsibility to determine how the federal government can best stimulate economically competitive regions, and I appreciate your invitation to offer my thoughts on this topic.

At The Brookings Institution, I have two areas of focus:

  • the federal role in stimulating economically competitive metropolitan areas, and
  • the federal role in producing the socioeconomic data—for example, population, employment, transportation—needed by governments and businesses to make intelligent investment decisions.

    To give you some context for my remarks: In the 1980s, I co-founded Mt. Auburn Associates, a regional economic development consulting firm in Boston; in the 1990s, I created a solo consulting practice; two years ago, I become a fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. I received a doctorate in economic development and public policy from MIT.

    I have consulted with 60 states, regions, counties and cities, helping them understand how their economies work and advising them on how they could work better. Congressman Arcuri, I was part of a team working with Oneida County on a plan to reuse Griffiss Air Force Base and increase technology transfer from Rome Laboratory. Congressman Cohen, I helped develop an economic strategy for the Memphis area and a growth plan for Collierville.

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