Mayor Walsh outlines vision for a global Boston
March 7, 2014
In his first address to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today unveiled a series of commitments to make Boston a world-class, international city. The Mayor spoke of efforts underway to recruit and retain both local and international businesses, enhance Boston’s cultural offerings, and embrace efficiency, data and innovation to spark progress. [Remarks as prepared for delivery attached]
“We’re going out into the neighborhoods, around the country, and across the globe to promote Boston as a place to do business,” Mayor Walsh said. “We’re going to bring new economic opportunity to our city.”
Next week, as part of efforts to recruit businesses internationally, Mayor Walsh will meet with the consuls general stationed inBoston and pitch Boston’s 21st century workforce, thriving ecosystem of creative work spaces, and rich concentration of medical, scientific and cultural innovators. “My message to the Consular Corps will be this,” Mayor Walsh said in his remarks. “Boston wants to be your nation’s number one business partner.”
In addition to ongoing international efforts, Mayor Walsh announced a number of initiatives underway that will make doing business in the city of Boston more predictable and transparent.
The City’s Inspectional Services Department has been directed to meet aggressive new benchmarks, including responding to all questions within one business day and approving 75 percent of as-of-right permits in fewer than 20 days. A “hackathon” will tapBoston’s innovation community to create a more user-friendly permitting experience.
In an effort to open up more of the development process to the public, theBoston Redevelopment Authority will soon make documents under discussion at its board meetings visible in real time on the web.
The Mayor also outlined a number of efforts to enhance the city’s cosmopolitan culture, including the creation of a late night task force to examine how the city can foster a safe and vibrant late-night culture. Forward-thinking efforts around transportation in the city of Boston will take shape under the Boston Mobility Action Plan, a public process to guide and envision the City’s transportation future, cutting travel times and aligning with the City’s environmental goals.
“In a global economy, retaining talent is just as important as recruiting employers,” Mayor Walsh said. “For that reason, an international business hub needs a truly cosmopolitan culture. Diversity is already a strength of ours. And Logan Airport now connects us to more cities around the world than ever before. But again, we have to be proactive."
In his address, Mayor Walsh urged the Legislature to expand Boston’s access to the Commonwealth’s Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program, or I-Cubed, to finance new public infrastructure improvements necessary to support major new private development.
Mayor Walsh also announced that, for the first time in the city’s history,Boston has received perfect Triple-A ratings from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. He committed to presenting a balanced and smart budget this spring: “Embracing efficiency, we can be lean and provide the same level of service. Embracing innovation, we can take our services to another level.”
Mayor Walsh also discussed building positive relationships with the City’s workforce to pave the way for firm fiscal footing. Negotiations with employee labor unions have thus far resulted in: branch libraries opening on Saturdays and the central library opening on Sundays; transferring the City’s Code Enforcement division from Inspectional Services to Public Works; police and firefighters carrying and administering the lifesaving overdose medicine Narcan; as well as constructive talks underway to reach new contracts for firefighters, superior officers, and detectives.