Building Madison into a World Class Region
Tom Murphy of the Urban Land Institute spoke at this year’s annual Downtown Madison Inc (DMI) dinner. Murphy is the former mayor of Pittsburgh and had some suggestions for Madison's future. He showed passion as he communicated four ingredients to build a world class region. Investment in infrastructure, regional cooperation, improvement of quality of life, and leadership are some of the key issues facing the future of Madison.
"The US Highway Interstate system was the last major investment in America's infrastructure. China is investing over $160 Billion into new projects this year," exclaimed Murphy. Madison has certainly invested a lot of money in an assortment of public infrastructure projects. Such notable projects include the Monona Terrace, Overture Center, and Dane County airport. Murphy is a self-proclaimed zealot for landscape architecture and gives props to Madison for the architectural excellence in its public buildings. “Too many cities have just settled for an infrastructure that says ‘it’ll do’. Madison doesn’t have that problem yet.” However, Murphy argued that there’s still much to do in terms of regional transportation.
Transportation can be a hotly contested issue and is of critical importance to the mission of DMI. John Robison, Chair of the DMI Transportation & Parking Committee, says, “With our university and our progressive tradition, Dane County has always looked to the future. We need a progressive regional transportation system to help ensure a vibrant future for our county.”
Of course regional transportation is important because Madison is not an island unto itself. Many people live in some the surrounding communities of Fitchburg, Middleton, or Stoughton and yet work in Madison. As our community continues to grow, Murphy argues that we need to start thinking with more regional cooperation. He cited examples from Denver as 32 municipalities came together...