Mayor Gray has set a goal of growing by 250,000 residents in 20 years. Previous mayors had similar goals. GMU studies suggest we need over 122,000 new housing units (each of which might hold multiple people) by 2030. How can and should the District accommodate this growth?
Elissa Silverman responded...
This question gets at the heart of one of the biggest challenges we face in the District. Certainly we want to welcome new residents, who help grow our tax base, enrich our civic life and make our city dynamic and evolving. Yet we need to integrate these new residents in a way that does not disregard or ignore those residents and institutions who have been in the District for a long time, contributed for many years to our tax base and civic life, and have deep roots in our city that are meaningful.
As at-large councilmember, I will champion three areas to address this challenge.
First, I will make affordable housing a top priority in our city's budget. The District should have good housing options for all types of residents: interns out of college, families with or without kids and seniors who are living on a fixed income. I will protect and improve upon one of the best tools we have to do this: the Housing Production Trust Fund. I want to change the trust fund from being tied to the deed and recordation tax, which is volatile, to a budgeted line item. I also think we need to enforce our inclusionary zoning law and work with developers to build multiunit housing for all kinds of households, not just studios and one bedroom apartments largely geared to singles.
- Second, I will continue to make a varied transportation system a top priority. We need to add residents without turning our streets into gridlock or a game of Frogger for pedestrians and bicyclists. We need to smartly invest in Metro, expand bus service, and continue to look for ways to get people out of cars.
- Third, I will work with the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, the Department of Employment Services, and the Workforce Investment Council to make sure we have a strategic plan for jobs so that both newer and older DC residents benefit from the growth. This has been part of my work at DC Fiscal Policy Institute, and I'd love to serve on the council's workforce committee.
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