Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan joined Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser in signing a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that highlights the Washington region’s workforce, transit system and economy in a pitch to convince Bezos to choose either of the states or the city as the location of the company’s second headquarters.
Montgomery County, along with D.C. and Northern Virginia, is among the 20 places shortlisted by Amazon for the location of its estimated $5 billion headquarters, where the company plans to employ up to 50,000 workers. The company intends to choose a new headquarters location sometime later this year.
Montgomery County officials have said the county pitched the White Flint area to the company, although the location has not been formally confirmed. County officials have planned and zoned that area to welcome a company of Amazon’s size as part of the master plan process.
The letter, first obtained by WAMU, was dated March 2. It shows a level of cooperation between the three leaders that hasn’t been as publicly displayed during the quest to attract the company.
“Our region has always been an international magnet for those seeking to solve the world’s most complex problems, and as a result, our talent pool is deep, socioeconomically diverse, and more highly educated than any other U.S. metropolitan area,” the letter says. “Our region is anchored by more than one hundred outstanding colleges and universities preparing the next generation of exceptional talent.”
The letter also highlights the region’s transportation network, including its three airports and the Metro system, which was referred to as “one of the most widely-used commuter systems in the country.”
The D.C. area has been considered by outside observers as a front runner in the Amazon headquarters sweepstakes, with commentators pointing to Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post and his recent purchase of a $23 million D.C. mansion as additional reasons why the company may choose the area.
The letter noted the cooperation among governments of the District and the two states, as well as jurisdictions such as Montgomery County and those in Northern Virginia, to “strengthen our region’s emergency preparedness, clean our air and waterways, and build and maintain our transportation system.”
The letter also contained a future commitment: “As our metropolitan region prepares to add more than a million people and jobs over the next two decades, which we hope will include Amazon and your future growth, we are focused on several priorities—forging an agreement on new capital funding for Metro paired with governance reforms to ensure safe, efficient and reliable service; increasing the region’s housing stock at all price points; and expanding our talent pool through enhanced cooperation among our colleges and universities in partnership with employers large and small.”
The letter ends by saying the government leaders recognize that if Amazon chooses one of the three places in the region, then “we all win.”
The cooperation between the three also may serve to placate members of the regional business community who had encouraged government officials to work together to put forth a regional bid when the bidding process began last year.
Ultimately, each location decided to submit its own bid. Since then, only Maryland has publicly revealed the incentive package it’s offering to help lure Amazon to choose Montgomery County—a package of tax credits and incentives valued between $3 billion and $6 billion as well as a promise to make about $2 billion in transportation improvements around the new headquarters site.