If Virginians want Amazon to locate HQ2, its second headquarters, in the Washington area, they need to help fix Metro, the region’s ailing commuter rail service. That was part of the message delivered by Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld yesterday to the House Appropriation Committee’s Transportation subcommittee.
The Metro needs at least $15.5 billion in capital spending over the next decade to address a massive maintenance backlog, address safety issues and keep commuter trains running on time. Former Governor Terry McAuliffe included $150 million a year for Metro in the state budget on the condition that Maryland and Washington, D.C. contribute their share.
A functional Metro is crucial to winning Amazon, which has indicated it will invest $5 billion in a new headquarters complex, Wiedefeld told legislators, as reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“They want transit, and they want it to work well,” said Wiedefeld, who told the delegates that he has cut hundreds of positions, revised ethics and nepotism policies, and imposed controls on workers’ compensation and employee absenteeism in his efforts to right what has been seen as a woefully mismanaged transit system. WMATA also now has its first-ever preventive maintenance program, he said.
Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland are among the 20 locations that made Amazon’s top 20 list of prospects for its second headquarters complex. Amazon has declared that mass transit is a key factor in its site-selection process.
Bacon’s bottom line: It would be helpful to know what inducements Virginia has offered the technology giant to choose a location near Washington Dulles International Airport, but it is standard practice not to reveal such details. Likewise, it would be easier to justify shelling out extra billions for the Metro if we knew the odds of landing Amazon, but Amazon is not about to tip its hand. As usual, legislators and the public are in the dark, trying to make a multibillion-dollar decision on the basis of incomplete information.There are currently no comments highlighted.