Last Thursday, September 6, Governors Northam (D- VA), Hogan (R-MD) and Mayor Bowser (D-District of Columbia) were together at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Capital Region Business Forum. During this wonderful and lively discussion, the distinguished panel made their cases for how the Capital Region has gained traction as one of the front runners for the Amazon HQ as well as being known for Tech due to their multi-jurisdictional collaborative efforts.
The hottest topic would have to have been the possibility of Amazon coming to the area. It would be the biggest economic opportunity of a lifetime, and the three officials referenced the enormous amount of teamwork and the largest public private partnership to leverage transportation initiatives to bring the Purple line further, grow the worth of the Amtrak and even have the possibility of the high-loop train that would have a super-speed train between DC and NYC.
Something that really struck the audience was Gov. Hogan’s mention of the nearly 900 people who move to the region monthly and how we all have to work together to make this vibrant, well educated community the attractive place to live that it is. Mayor Bowser referenced that there are more people thinking of the area as a transportation rich area, with new options such as the new water taxi that flows between Alexandria, Georgetown and the Wharf; some folks may even start thinking of this as a general means for transportation on a daily basis to commute from DC to Virginia!
With the thought of the “largest economic opportunity” of a lifetime possibly coming to the area with the Amazon HQ on its way, what will that do to housing? Bowser, Northam and Hogan discussed leveraging the training of a “21st Century workforce” with tech capabilities and vocational workforce training and allowing them to have affordable housing options that Northam didn’t have a clear direction for within his discussions, but Bowser seems to like the idea of crediting vocational workers and teachers with the DC housing plans. Bowser had grand plans with smart city planning to incorporate autonomous vehicles into the future of DC and Hogan is looking forward to high-speed rail, while Northam likes the idea of integrating STEM and STEAM into schools for the vision of the Capital Business Region.
No matter how we get to the future of our Capital Business Region, our legislators were looking towards a bright future in tech, and smart growth. The future is looking mighty fine from their view, and from the thought of bringing in any of these tech firms to fill the vacancy we’ve seen over the last 5-7 years, even if it looks towards bio-health and life sciences, our communities are rich in nightlife, culture, beautiful communities rich in diversity and we have a great quality of life, and I can’t wait to see what is next.