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DC Mayor on Amazon HQ2: ‘We Need More Reliable’ Metro Service

Muriel Bowser welcomes Amazon, but she doesn’t have words for ‘National Landing’

After D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke Tuesday at a conference in D.C., she didn’t have much to say about “National Landing.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
After D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke Tuesday at a conference in D.C., she didn’t have much to say about “National Landing.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser knows that housing prices and the Metro were some of Washingtonians’ first thoughts when they heard of Amazon’s decision to locate half of their new headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia.

“We expect that Virginia is going to be a first priority area, but we know that may people will want to live in the nation’s capital as well,” the mayor said at a conference in Southwest Washington on Tuesday.

Asked about Crystal City’s rebranding as National Landmark, which had some locals scratching their heads, the mayor laughed but didn’t answer. The media snickered along when she refused to comment.

She plans to work with Virginia and Maryland so that “when we look five and ten years out, we know that we’re producing tens of thousands of [housing] units across the region.”

Bowser said while she’s confident in D.C.’s ability to handle the new situation, she wants to push the rest of the DMV to follow suit.

“We are going to continue to encourage a regional commitment, because it’s going to take more than the district. We think that we’re pretty aggressive in the district, we’re always looking for ways to do more,” she said.

[Mark Warner Welcomes Amazon, But Warns Big Tech]

She had already talked to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam before the noon event and congratulated him on securing Amazon.

“I look forward to hearing more details about Amazon plans in Crystal City, and we, of course, stand ready to work with our regional partners on strengthening the infrastructure in our city to make the transition of those employees as smooth as possible,” she said.

Crystal City is Metro accessible and a short ride from the heart of Washington. Bowser was asked what she says to people moving here who think the Metro is unreliable.

“People, when they come here, they are actually pretty wow’ed by our Metro system. You come in from the West Coast, you come in from other parts of the country, people say how clean it is,” the mayor said.

Cleanliness aside, it can be unpredictable.

“We need more service and we need more reliable service,” she said. “In addition to the capital type of improvements that I know have been discussed, we’ll need operational improvements at Metro to accommodate this announcement.”

Was the mayor upset that D.C. didn’t get the Amazon location?

“We took the approach that Maryland, D.C. or Virginia locations was good for us,” she said.

And the city will get some money from it regardless. If you work in Virginia but live in D.C., the city still gets tax benefits.

Crystal City reportedly offered $819 million in incentives to lure Amazon to the area. But Bowser still sees the headquarters as a good deal for Washington.

“They’ll pay taxes here in our amenity-rich city, which we know is the driving force around a lot of companies wanting to stay here and wanting to move here,” Bowser said.

Bowser spoke at a conference, the FiscalNote ReInvent Summit, sponsored by Roll Call’s parent company. FiscalNote finalized the acquisition of CQ Roll Call from The Economist Group on Aug. 20.

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