238 metro areas in North America submitted a proposal to Amazon, attempting to catch the eye of the multi-billion dollar empire. On January 18, Amazon announced that only twenty metro areas remained in contention. Montgomery County, Maryland is among the remaining areas.
So what are these metro areas competing for, why is it important, and what do their proposals contain?
Amazon is searching for a location to open its second headquarters. Its flagship building, in Seattle, will still remain as the internet’s most profited company expands. Four total bids — from Baltimore City, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County — came from Maryland. Over 200 North American metro areas initially submitted proposals in an attempt to sway Amazon their way, and of Maryland’s submissions, only Montgomery County made the cut.
Montgomery County Bid In Top Twenty For Amazon HQ
The prize — according to Governor Larry Hogan — is “the greatest economic development opportunity in a generation”. The metro area that presents the handsomest bid, winning the new Amazon HQ, will be awarded 50,000 new jobs, and $5 billion for development. In addition to new jobs for Marylanders, the highly coveted development would attract some of the world’s hottest tech talent away from Silicon Valley.
Montgomery County, geographically, has a lot to offer to Amazon. the most populous county in the state, also offers the benefits of being close to the Baltimore and D.C. metro areas. (D.C. Is still in contention for its own bid, as well as Northern Virginia, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) The proposed building site is also a mere half-hour drive from the University of Maryland at College Park. The school boasts impressive numbers that would appeal to Amazon, ranking in the top twenty schools, nationally, of each computer science-related graduate school program it offers.
Hogan recently revealed parts of Montgomery County’s Amazon “HQ2” proposal. $2 billion in transportation upgrades and $3 billion in tax breaks are the biggest pieces of bait to lure in the tech giant. He also announced the PRIME bill, — aptly named in reference to Amazon’s “Prime” service — or the Promoting ext-Raordinary Innovation in Maryland’s Economy Act of 2018. The bill would offer financial incentives, including more tax breaks, to large corporations bringing in large amounts of jobs.
Md. Governor Hogan Pulling All Stops to Woo Amazon
There are concerns about Governor Hogan’s priorities, say those reluctant of the PRIME bill. Acknowledging the benefits that Amazon could bring to Maryland, constituents and politicians alike cite what they think are more urgent needs for the state — including funding for a regional hospital in Prince George’s County — and that Hogan should consider allocating the money there, instead. Some go so far as to point out that Hogan would rather help the wealthy than the working class, as his $2 billion transportation package in a relatively wealthy Montgomery County would be more than enough to finish a canceled light rail development in Baltimore City.
New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia are also among the twenty remaining bids. Amazon is set to announce the location of the new headquarters by the end of 2018.