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Public transit holds key to regional growth

Wednesday - 3/21/2012, 6:41am  ET

Metro Farragut North (WMATA/Larry Levine)
Metro may be one of the keys to attracting businesses. (Courtesy of WMATA/Larry Levine)

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - If the region wants to continue to attract jobs, it has to make sure people can get to those jobs.

That was the message delivered by Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., during a recent conference in the District.

He told regional leaders it is imperative to continue improving public transit systems because that is where new corporate headquarters will locate.

"We have to know our competitive advantages, and develop those. It isn't competing between Fairfax and Montgomery counties -- it's Fairfax and Los Angeles, or Montgomery County and San Diego," said Fuller.

Even with the region's horrible congestion, he pointed to Metro's Silver Line expansion through Fairfax County out to Dulles International Airport as an example that can lure business to the capital region.

"That creates a competitive advantage that's not attractive to the federal government per se," he said.

"It's attracting businesses that want to locate here to do business around the world. And they need access to good airports, good transportation, good housing and everything that we offer."

Fuller's comments were part of a larger discussion looking at the growth of the local economy in the coming years.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)