Tag Archives: Amazon

Virginia, Maryland and D.C. Collaborating on Amazon Pitch

Metro Washington: multiple government jurisdictions, one economic organism

As much as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wants Amazon.com to locate its HQ2 in Montgomery County, he’d be delighted if the tech giant picked anywhere in the Washington metropolitan area. Accordingly. Maryland, D.C., and Virginia are working to pitch Greater Washington to Amazon as a unified region, he said Wednesday.

Hogan’s remarks, reports the Washington Business Journal, follow disclosures that officials from multiple Greater Washington jurisdictions have been discussing regional issues relating to the project, which could bring $5 billion in investment and more than 5,000 jobs to the region.

“Now, we all had our individual bids, and we’re still hoping,” said the Republican Maryland governor. “We think that Maryland had made a very, very attractive offer, one of the best in the country, and we’d love to have them here, but if that was the decision that Amazon made, to bring it to the Washington area and share, mix jurisdictions, we certainly would be supportive of that as well.”

If I were Amazon, one of my biggest concerns about locating in the Washington metropolitan is the division of government between two states and the district — an arrangement that has proven dysfunctional for regional organizations such as the Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority (which operates the Metro) and the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority. I would be greatly heartened to see any sign that the states were willing to work collaboratively.

I think the Washington metro has a serious shot at bagging the Amazon HQ2. It only makes sense for the jurisdictions to collaborate because the impact would be so huge that, no matter which specific location Amazon selected, there would be big spillover effects everywhere.

I remain highly ambivalent about the desirability of winning the Amazon project, given that (a) in a labor market experiencing labor shortages, newly created jobs can be filled only by people coming from outside the region, which would mean (b) state and local governments would have to absorb big new costs for schools, services, and transportation, (c) Amazon would be extracting such huge subsidies and tax concessions that it won’t help pay for much of that growth, and (d) non-Amazon taxpayers would get hosed.

However, Amazon would help diversify a regional economy that is dangerously dependent upon federal expenditures, would turbocharge the regional tech economy, and would give Washington huge bragging rights for winning more tech companies and corporate headquarters. In the balance, I share Hogan’s view that HQ2 would be a good thing for the Washington region whichever jurisdiction it chooses.

McAuliffe Hires Consultants to Pursue Amazon Deal

Governor Terry McAuliffe has hired McKinsey & Co. to help Virginia localities build the best possible packages to recruit Amazon’s second headquarters, reports the Virginian-Pilot. The state plans to pay the consultant more than $1 million, while state regions will chip in hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

That information, which I haven’t seen reported anywhere else, comes from Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, who has committed Virginia Beach to the long-shot endeavor. The project, which could entail the investment of $5 billion and creation of 50,000 jobs, is attracting interest from metropolitan regions across North America. The deadline for submitting proposals is Oct. 19.

Sessoms said he expects economic developers in the Richmond and Northern Virginia regions also to avail themselves of the consulting services. Virginia regions will chip in $300,000 to $400,000 for the work product. Virginia Beach will pay $200,000 of the Hampton Roads region’s share. The City of Norfolk is participating as well.

Aside from available land, great parks and recreation, a strong arts scene, the ocean, solid schools, and a high quality of life, Sessoms said the city has something that most others don’t: access to transoceanic cables that will deliver faster Internet speeds. A new trans-Atlantic cable linking Virginia Beach to Spain will go live next year. Said Sessoms: “We have a cable that is going to allow people to communicate faster than anywhere else in the world.”