Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn is pursuing Amazon.com Inc. with gusto as the retailer determines which state will be home to its second headquarters, HQ2.
Rahn, who spoke at a Feb. 6 state Senate hearing, referenced Gov. Larry Hogan’s incentive package, which already has devoted $2 billion to unspecified transportation upgrades in an effort to attract Amazon. Hogan’s plan totals $5 billion in tax incentives and transportation improvements.
Rahn initially claimed that Maryland is willing to offer Amazon a “blank check” for any infrastructure changes the company may need, a comment that a spokesman for the governor later walked back on his behalf.
“Obviously, Secretary Rahn misspoke. The transportation portion of the Amazon incentive package will include targeted investments in both transit and roads that will be financed over at least 10 years. It will be funded fully and appropriately,” spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver-Churchill said. “Pete Rahn is one of the finest transportation experts in the nation, but he also happens to be human. He was simply reiterating the well-reported fact that Maryland is going to aggressively compete for this incredible economic development opportunity.”
Rahn’s remarks come shortly after Hogan announced sweeping tax legislation as part of his incentive package. The Promoting ext-Raordinary Innovation in Maryland’s Economy Act of 2018, announced Jan. 22, provides a state income tax credit equivalent to 5.75% of wages for each qualifying headquarters job, a state and local property tax credit and a state sales and use tax exemption for construction material.
Montgomery County, Md., is one of 20 locations that Amazon has selected for consideration to be the site of its second headquarters.
“Amazon sent a clear signal that Maryland truly is open for business by selecting Montgomery County as one of an elite group of contenders for this transformative project,” Hogan said in a press release issued Jan. 22. “HQ2 is the single greatest economic development opportunity in a generation, and we’re committing all of the resources we have to bring it home to Maryland. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and all county leadership as we do everything possible to secure this incredible opportunity.”
The Maryland Department of Commerce will administer the Prime Act once it is signed into law. The legislation applies to a Fortune 100 company creating a new headquarters facility in the state with employees earning an average salary of at least $100,000 per year.
Other places Amazon is considering are: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; Newark, N.J.; New York City; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, N.C.; Toronto and Washington, D.C.