Monday, January 22, 2018

Amazon gives Howard County a pass

    We recently found out that Howard County's long shot proposal for Amazon to locate it's second headquarters in our County not making the first cut.  We may still get some benefit if Washington D.C. or Montgomery County gets selected.  As we know many people working in those two locations choose to live in Howard County because of our quality of life.
     In looking at why we didn't make this cut I would assume that limited transportation resources in Howard County hurt our proposal.  Having the Washington and Baltimore subways reaching HoCo would have certainly helped us.  Also BWI doesn't have the international flights that go through Dulles. Given the salaries of most of the Amazon workers in their headquarters I don't think our housing costs would have been a factor in decision.  Including Montgomery County in their cut showed that reality. 
     In a way being between 2 metropolitan areas doesn't have the appeal that it did when Rouse selected our area for building Columbia.  While DC has become a world class metropolitan area Baltimore has gone in the opposite direction.  Baltimore has lost half its population since the 1960's. Crime, gangs and drug addiction now makes Baltimore a drag on the image of our area.  Except for Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School Baltimore is seen as a decaying urban area.
     The good news is that we regularly hear of new businesses moving into Howard County because of our quality of life which always places Howard County near the top in any national rankings of good places to live.  While maybe not the size of the Amazon headquarters proposal we will continue to have high tech and security firms see our area as a perfect fit for their employees.  Gateway and the Crescent area development means that growth in our County will be strong for a long time.  Our tax base is the envy of most other counties.

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