The Washington area has few region- wide institutions, and even those have limited mandates. The Council of Governments is the only public institution representing area governments with a broad mandate to plan for the concerns of the region as a whole. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is the only region-wide institution that builds and operates a major public facility, the Metro subway system. . . . Several private organizations provide region-wide perspective, including the Board of Trade, the Federal City Council and the Greater Washington Research Center. These are also voluntary organizations.
Ironically, the success of these institutions and the cooperative approach to solving regional problems were large and the options for solving them reasonably obvious. Our energy and attention could be focused on a few large projects . . . that clearly were of mutual concern to every jurisdiction.
In the future we may not have the advantage of solutions that are as clear in concept. Alleviating the traffic congestion that plagues the Washington area will require a complex series of measures. . . . Redressing the imbalance between unemployment and labor shortages will require coordinated efforts in transportation, education, training and employment. Meeting the complex human services needs of the homeless, the handicapped, the sick and the poor will require equally complex adjustment and coordination of numerous programs in every jurisdiction. . . . Will our our regional tradition of cooperation and voluntary institutions be up to this challenge? Potentially, yes. But let's not have any illusions about how difficult it will be. . . .