Trial balloons in the Washington Post and Dulles Airport as an aerotropolis
The first place I saw the concept of a casino at National Harbor in Prince George's County being publicly outlined was in a column by Robert McCartney of the Washington Post in a January 2012 column, "Make picks in these '12 predictions."
At that time, Prince George's County residents had already voted to not allow casinos in the county. By November, a state-wide referendum was passed that expanded casino gambling beyond slots and adding PG County as a place for a casino to locate.
Last week, Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney wrote a column suggested the roadway network in the metropolitan area could be expanded as a way to reduce congestion, if done intelligently. One of the projects he mentioned is the proposed Bi-County Parkway, which would mostly enable new development, even though his column was about congestion reduction.
I wrote about the general thrust of his column here, "Weak discourse on "congestion" by Washington Post columnist."
But then on Sunday, there is a big piece in the Post about how the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has big big plans to enable development on land that they own on and around the Dulles Airport, to generate revenue. See "Could the Bi-County Parkway revive Dulles International Airport?" From the article:
Dulles International Airport has seen a tough few years. Fewer passengers are flying into and out of the airport’s iconic terminal. Less cargo is moving across its tarmac. And with the global economy still sputtering, there’s no telling when the airport’s fortunes will turn around.
A solution, some Virginia officials say, is the long-debated Bi-County Parkway, a proposed road between Prince William and Loudoun counties that could serve as a new conduit for people and cargo passing through Dulles. Proponents say it would spur business development by offering a vital north-south link to the airport, giving businesses easy access to an international gateway.
With thousand of acres of undeveloped land and a Metrorail connection that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority aims to open in 2018, authority officials hope to build new facilities — perhaps offices and another hotel — on airport property to generate additional revenue. On the land around the airport’s runways, MWAA officials say new buildings to house cargo, including units that could store flowers, pharmaceuticals and other perishables, could boost the airport’s bottom line. They point to a soon-to-be built United Airlines maintenance hangar as an example of the airport’s potential to bring in more jobs and tax revenue.
Again, it's as if the column last week was a trial balloon.
I can't knock the MWAA or Prince William and Loudoun Counties for wanting more development, because ultimately that's what generates revenues for their respective entities. Dulles Airport's passenger and cargo traffic has been dropping, and they want to boost it.
But it doesn't bode well for "smart growth." Or maybe it does, just on a relative, not an absolute basis.
- "More on transportation to the DC area airports"
- "Aerotropoli and rethinking the scale of mobility networks in the context of a global economy"