Thursday, October 22, 2009

Metro Mayors Meet on Regional Competitiveness

Slide Presentations from Regional Competitiveness Workshop:
Regional Competitiveness Project: Agenda and Selection of Clusters
Making Sense of Clusters: Keynote Address by Joseph Cortright

Minneapolis downtown.jpgOn October 21, Metro-area Mayors met at the Humphrey Institute to select industry clusters that will be the focus of an effort to improve the economic competitiveness of the Twin Cities. The Regional Competitiveness Project is a two-year project funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and conducted by the Humphrey Institute's State and Local Policy Program for the Regional Council of Mayors in partnership with Urban Land Institute (ULI) Minnesota.

The purpose of the project is to implement a regional economic and workforce development competitiveness strategy for short and long-term economic growth. This strategy will build a regional model, effectively connecting economic and workforce development efforts of business leaders, the Regional Council of Mayors, Workforce Investment Boards, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota State College and University System, and the University of Minnesota

Joseph Cortright of Impresa in Portland, Oregon, gave the keynote address on "Making Sense of Clusters." Cortright summed up industry clusters in three words. "Clusters are about ideas, relationships, and place," according to Cortright. Cortright emphasized the importance of traded clusters that bring wealth into a region and draw upon specialized skills of a region's workforce.

The Humphrey Institute identified ten traded industry clusters in which the Twin Cities region is competitive nationally and internationally. The clusters were evaluated based on six criteria:

  • Strength of competitive advantage (existing or emerging)
  • Potential gain for industry cluster from private-public collaboration
  • Degree of geographic distribution in the region
  • Potential to spur innovation
  • Potential to spur entrepreneurship
  • International strength

The Mayors selected three clusters that will be the initial focus of the project--medical devices, financial services, and distribution services. In future phases of the project, the Mayors plan to work with other clusters as well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Regional Competitiveness and Industry Clusters Capstone Course

PA 8081(7)

An Economic Development Workshop for Humphrey Institute and Carlson School Graduate Students
Spring Semester 2010 รข€¢ 3 Credits
Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:30 p. m.

Course Syllabus 2010

Instructors: Lee Munnich, Senior Fellow, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs; Kris Nelson, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA); Burke Murphy, Metro Administrator, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

This capstone workshop course is part of a Regional Competitiveness Project being conducted for the Twin Cities Regional Council of Mayors and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Three teams of graduate students will prepare economic development strategy reports for the Regional Council of Mayors, and two teams will prepare strategy reports for regional clients in Greater Minnesota. Each strategy report will focus on a regional industry cluster and consist of three parts: 1) a diagnosis of a regional industry cluster, 2) a vision for the future, and 3) an action plan in accord with that vision.

While this workshop is designed as a capstone workshop to meet Humphrey Institute requirements, graduate students from the Carlson School of Management are strongly encouraged to participate in this workshop. The Regional Council of Mayors and DEED are particularly interested in drawing from the joint business, planning and public policy talents of the two graduate programs in developing a regional investment strategy for the Twin Cities and linking that strategy to Greater Minnesota.

The topic for the Spring 2010 capstone workshop course is Microeconomics of Competitiveness: Firms, Clusters, and Economic Development. This workshop is based on a case-study course developed by Professor Michael Porter and a team of his colleagues at the Harvard Business School. The course explores the determinants of national and regional competitiveness building from the perspective of firms, clusters, sub-national units, nations, and groups of neighboring countries. It focuses on the sources of national or regional productivity, which are rooted in the strategies and operating practices of locally based firms, the vitality of clusters, and the quality of the business environment in which competition takes place.

The course examines both advanced and developing economies and addresses competitiveness at multiple levels - nations, sub-national units such as states or provinces, particular cluster, and neighboring countries. The course is concerned not only with government policy, but also with the roles that firms, industry, associations, universities, and other institutions play in competitiveness. In modern competition, each of these institutions has an important and evolving role in economic development. Moreover, the process of creating and sustaining an economic strategy for a nation, state or region is a daunting challenge. The course explores not only theory and policy but also the organizational structures, institutional structures, and change processes required for sustained improvements in competitiveness.

The course is taught using case studies drawn from all major regions of the world. Part of the purpose of the course is to expose students to some of the most successful countries and regions. In addition to cases, there are readings, a series of video lectures by Michael Porter, and videotaped appearances by guests who are national, regional, or business leaders involved in the cases studied.

For further information contact: Lee Munnich, or (612) 625-7357

Friday, October 9, 2009

Public Acceptance of Toll Lane Options Presentations

For those interested in the presentations from the Rethinking Transportation Financing Roundtable on Public Acceptance of Toll Lane Options, here they are

Express Lane Networks: Effectiveness and Acceptance - Patrick DeCorla Souza, Tolling and Pricing Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration
Public Acceptance of FEE Lanes: Study Methodology - Adeel Lari, Director of Innovative Transportation Finance, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Public Perceptions of FEE Lanes: Focus Group Impressions - Kenneth Buckeye, Program Manager, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Public Acceptance of Toll Lane Options

Rethinking Transportation Finance Roundtable
Public Acceptance of Toll Lane Options

October 9, 2009
9:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m.
Wilkins Room
215 Humphrey Center
University of Minnesota
301-19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cost: There is no charge for this event, but registration is requested.
Registration: To register, contact Laura Noble at 612-626-0564 or

In an era of increasing congestion and limited state budgets, there is a need to develop cost-effective solutions to accommodate increasing travel demand. How can policy makers and Departments of Transportation around the nation help to provide options for motorists? How can DOTs use existing infrastructure as efficiently as possible to meet current and future transportation needs? Two concepts, FAST Miles and FEE lanes, offer a potential solution for more efficiently using infrastructure.

The FAST Miles concept proposes to ease highway congestion on a system of limited access facilities by pricing the road to promote the use of car pools and public transportation. Under the concept, each motorist is provided a number of dollar credits per month. The motorist, at his or her discretion, can apply those credits to use the priced lanes. The FAST Miles concept addresses equity concerns such as lack of alternatives to paying the toll, concern for low-income drivers, as well as taking away lanes that were previously free.

Flexible and Efficient Express (FEE) lanes can serve as the back bone of the FAST Miles System. FEE lanes are a combination of active traffic management and congestion pricing and may be combined with a credit based system.

Focus groups were conducted in May 2009 to test how understandable the FAST Miles concept is to the public as well as public opinion on converting existing freeway right-of-way to priced lanes - FEE lanes. These concepts were tested with transportation users and stakeholders such as transit users, peak period drivers, and commercial drivers. From the focus groups, potential barriers to comprehension and implementation of the FAST Miles program were highlighted.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) and the Metropolitan Council have explored the possibility of implementing a system of MnPASS lanes (HOT Lanes) in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area for over a decade. The results of this study will be used to help develop an implementation initiative with improved potential for success.

8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast
9:00 a.m. Welcome
Laurie McGinnis, Acting Director, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota
9:05 a.m. Presentations
Moderator: Lee Munnich, Senior Fellow and Director, State and Local Policy Program, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Express Lane Networks: Patrick DeCorla Souza, Tolling and Pricing Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration
Study Methodology: Adeel Lari, Director of Innovative Transportation Finance, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Study Results: Kenneth Buckeye, Program Manager, Minnesota Department of Transportation
10:10 a.m. Audience discussion
* What is your reaction to the concepts of FAST Miles and FEE Lanes?
* What are the potential impacts for transit if express lane networks are expanded in the Twin Cities area?
* What further steps should be taken in Minnesota?
11:00 a.m. Adjourn

Directions, transit, & parking
View directions to the Humphrey Institute. Parking is available in the 19th Avenue Ramp across from the Humphrey Center. For transit information call Metro Transit at 612-373-3333 or visit

This event is sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies and the Humphrey Institute's State and Local Policy Program with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

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