Omaha, NE. August 15 – ConnectGO, a region-wide initiative to increase transportation access, will be soliciting community input at MAHA Discovery August 15, and MAHA Music Festival August 17.
“Transportation needs don’t stop at city/county/state boundaries, so neither should planning efforts. ConnectGO provides an opportunity for transportation decisions to be made in a coordinated manner across the metro,” said David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber. “No region of any size and success has grown efficiently and exponentially without also growing transportation.”
A coalition of C-suite executives, community volunteers, public and private organizations, infrastructure experts and transportation analysts, ConnectGO is exploring how the metro moves – with the goal of gathering data to collectively propel the region forward.
Case in point: The Urban League of Nebraska, Greater Omaha Chamber and United Way of the Midlands determined “developing a 20-year regional transportation plan, which outlines needs and sources, that is endorsed by elected officials and supported by the private and philanthropic sectors” is a needed to help grow Greater Omaha’s 2040 Plan.
Key to the plan: Inclusive growth facilitated by relevant, reliable, real-time transportation options.
“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.”
With more than 60 percent of millennials noting they would prefer more reliable transportation systems in the next ten years (according to the American Public Transportation Association), motivation to “move the needle” is high, ConnectGO’s organizers say.
“We’re looking at emerging technologies and evolving preferences and needs,” said Stephen Osberg, director, transportation development, Greater Omaha Chamber, and ConnectGO’s organizer. “We’re also looking to ensure that our infrastructure decisions are made in support of our region’s broader goals, like equitable access to employment or education, improving our quality of life to attract and retain talent, and generally bolstering our economic strength.”
Brown added, “The Chamber is uniquely positioned to facilitate this conversation among regional businesses, nonprofits, public agencies and the broader public.”
Part of the Chamber’s charge will also include examining how transportation can help close the nearly $4.8 billion in GDP racial income gaps cost Greater Omaha annually, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency’s 2018 Equitable Growth Profile of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Region.
“ConnectGO is about the future of our city. Innovative changes in transportation will bring new business, create jobs, and spur holistic development – particularly in our established, older neighborhoods,” said Angela Smith, a ConnectGO coalition volunteer. “We need bold investments to keep Omaha on the map as a great place to live.”
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. This is accomplished by advocating for a strong business climate, creating opportunities for member visibility and business connections, pursuing investment and jobs for the region, strengthening leaders and the community and enhancing the region’s brand and image.