Predicting the future

Vision 2030: Long-range strategizing must include Washington area's impact.

October 06, 2001

BY 2030, the Baltimore region's over-65 age group will nearly double while the 35-54 bracket will decrease. Conclusion: A labor shortage is likely.

The region's population will grow, meaning more traffic headaches. Future residential development will increasingly bulge into today's rural or semi-rural areas.

Poverty will spread from Baltimore City to surrounding areas. The number of schoolchildren entitled to subsidized lunches is already steadily creeping up, and is projected to grow.

These predictions were among nuggets of information given Wednesday by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council to dozens of planners and civic activists. They convened in Timonium to brainstorm about Vision 2030, an 18-month campaign to develop a framework for forward-looking policy decisions.

Vision 2030, which will include 17 public meetings in February and March, is still in its formative stages. But what was so odd about the Timonium meeting was the near total absence of any talk about the Washington region's impact on Central Maryland. That's ridiculous, because that region's growth, double the Baltimore area's, drives much of this state.

Just look at Frederick's rapid transformation into a Washington bedroom community, a process that also has started in Hagerstown. Closer to home, Washington is a big factor in development in Anne Arundel, Howard and Carroll counties.

Vision 2030 is such an ambitious undertaking that organizers wanted to keep the focus sharp. But Washington cannot be ignored. Whether we want to hear it or not, in another 30 years the nation's capital area will simply dominate much of Central Maryland.

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