Building the Economy


The economic future of the region, nation, and world is faced with a host of issues revolving around rising energy prices and dealing with the realities and regulations of climate change. The regions that best equip their businesses and residents to deal with these issues will be the ones that thrive. Connections 2040 recognizes that the region will need to be innovative in implementing solutions to reduce energy consumption in our buildings and transportation sectors and promote the use of alternative energy technologies in order to be prosperous in the future. Promoting eco-enterprises and green-collar jobs that support energy efficiency and alternative energy industries will make our region more competitive economically, generate new jobs and revenue, and create jobs for the underemployed. In addition, the region can build on its already strong economic foundation and improve business sustainability practices in fields, such as life sciences; tourism; health care; finance; professional and business services; information technology; creative industries; internet, cable, and telecommunications; transportation and logistics; specialty manufacturing; and food production.

Economic Growth

To enhance the climate for business growth, municipalities must maintain a dialogue with the business community and engage business leaders in growing the economy. A more attractive business tax environment, as well as fast, predictable, and transparent government decision-making, will encourage economic development. Municipalities can also work together to foster regional collaboration, participate in a regional economic development marketing program, and improve the region's image, both internally and externally. Tools that municipalities can use to improve their economic competitiveness include the following:

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Enterprise Zones

Land Value Taxation

Shared Services

The Pop-Up Economy

Energy Efficiency And Conservation

Energy efficiency is the single most cost-effective approach to address the challenges related to high energy costs and the increased generation of greenhouse gases (GHG) that cause climate change. Just a 10 percent improvement in energy efficiency will save the region $2.5 billion per year in direct costs, while reducing GHG emissions. To reduce the energy used by residents' driving, municipalities can also work to locate employment, services, and housing in close proximity to each other.

DVRPC has developed tools and expertise to help municipalities identify, prioritize, and implement cost-effective strategies to reduce energy use and curb GHG emissions in municipal operations. Implementing measures to reduce energy costs will lower local governments' operating costs, creating a demand for workers and providers of energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services. Energy-efficiency improvements also present opportunities to improve air quality and modernize aging infrastructure, as well as provide a model for local businesses and residents. Cost-saving measures to reduce energy and GHG emissions have proven successful for local government operational sectors, including buildings, fleets, outdoor lighting, and wastewater treatment facilities. There are a number of tools currently available for municipalities to increase energy efficiency:

Inventory of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Baseline Energy Analysis of Municipal Operations

Alternative Energy Ordinances

Green Building and Energy-Efficient Design Standards

Energy-Efficient Traffic Signals and Streetlights

Energy Audits

Energy-Efficient Purchasing

Energy Performance Contracting

Green Fleet and Commute Programs