OMAHA, Neb., Feb. 19, 2020 – The Greater Omaha Chamber today released key survey findings, as well as goals and principles, for ConnectGO, a regional transportation initiative designed to reimagine and modernize Metro Omaha’s transportation ecosystem.
More than 2,800 participants completed the initiative’s survey, with 94 percent of respondents living in the Greater Omaha area.
The result: Eighty-six percent of survey participants agree or strongly agree equitable access to jobs, education and healthcare should guide Greater Omaha’s transportation investments.
“Since we launched the outreach efforts for ConnectGO at Native Omaha Days last summer, we’ve heard from so many people genuinely interested in helping to improve transportation in Greater Omaha,” said Stephen Osberg, director, transportation development, Greater Omaha Chamber. “We’ve taken all the feedback gathered so far from discussions at business groups, rotaries, and focus groups along with survey responses collected both online and in-person to establish the ConnectGO goals and principles.”
ConnectGO’s goals and principles include such attributes as access to opportunity, a focus on equity and transformative change – all designed to increase talent attraction and retention, as well as promote approaches that “put people first.”
Survey results (such as only 9 percent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing they are satisfied with the quality of public transit), are continuing to help shape the community-wide transportation conversation.
Osberg said ConnectGO’s “goals and principles will guide development of the projects, policies and programs that will coalesce into the ConnectGO strategy over the coming months,” and will build on community dialogue regarding current transportation infrastructure.
“As innovation drives change, there is a constant – Omaha’s place as a transportation leader, providing a critical crossroad to every corner of the nation,” said Union Pacific chairman, president and CEO Lance Fritz. “As we think about the future, transportation will expand that connectivity, from the movement of freight to public transit options for our residents. These innovations will help us attract and retain the diverse, talented workforce Omaha needs to thrive.”
Named Uncubed’s fastest-growing tech boomtown, Omaha is experiencing rapid growth, with single-family construction permits up 20 percent from December 2018 to December 2019, according to the Greater Omaha Chamber’s December 2019 Monthly Economic Indicators.
Such marked expansion has metro planners and stakeholders urging change through community conversation.
“At Lamp Rynearson, we understand the value of examining, understanding and guiding a regional transportation effort. I’m confident that the ConnectGO goals and principles will help orient the continued development of the metro’s transportation to help meet Greater Omaha’s needs around workforce, access to opportunity, economic growth and the upkeep of our infrastructure,” said Nancy Pridal, P.E, CEO/president, Lamp Rynearson.
Meeting needs around “guiding a regional transportation effort” appears to be echoed in key findings of the ConnectGo report, which points out Omaha’s residents are “generally pleased” with the region’s quality of life, and are seeking solutions as the city grows, technology changes and opportunities expand.
“Transit is part of every discussion, every day, and it should be. Public safety, job growth, workforce training, development – all require a safe and future-oriented transportation system,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “The ConnectGO key survey data confirms many of our priorities, including the critical need for a long-term plan and funding solution to improve and maintain our road infrastructure. Safe, reliable roads are fundamental to a transportation system that achieves the ConnectGO goals of access to opportunity, talent attraction and retention and economic growth.”
David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber, applauded the community’s collaboration in crafting transportation solutions. “The cross-sector partnership between the Greater Omaha Chamber, Metro Smart Cities, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) has proven invaluable as we work to build a new unified regional transportation strategy,” Brown said. “Transportation is the backbone of our community, and we are committed to working together to ensure our vibrant city is accessible to all.”
ConnectGO, the Greater Omaha Chamber, MAPA and Metro Smart Cities are continuing the transportation conversation tonight at Film Streams’ Dundee Theater with “Autonomy,” a screening of Malcom Gladwell’s documentary by the same name February 18. Osberg, will facilitate a post-film discussion. Tickets: https://filmstreams.org/films/autonomy.
ConnectGO Key Findings Report: https://www.omahachamber.org/download/40390/
About Greater Omaha
Greater Omaha is a No. 1 ranked up-and-coming-tech hotspot and Time magazine’s 2017 No. 3 Most Up-and-Coming City in America. Recognized for its “We Don’t Coast” attitude, and named America’s No. 2 Best Small City, Greater Omaha is home to more than 30 communities and nearly 1 million people, with a youthful population (more than 40 percent are age 24 or younger), low cost of living and steady economic growth that outpaces the nation. Berkshire Hathaway, Mutual of Omaha, Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. and Union Pacific – all Fortune 500 companies – call Greater Omaha “home.”
About the Greater Omaha Chamber
The mission of the Greater Omaha Chamber is to champion a thriving business community and a prosperous region through visionary leadership and collaboration.