County Executive Angela Alsobrooks meets with Board of Trade about Prince George’s County business opportunities and challenges
On Wednesday, May 17th, the Greater Washington Board of Trade and several of our member organizations sat down with Prince George’s County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks to discuss opportunities and challenges impacting the business community. This Policy Lunch was sponsored by MGM National Harbor and moderated by Kerry Watson their Regional Vice President of Government Affairs.
The 5 key takeaways from the Policy Lunch with County Executive Angela Alsobrooks:
- Prince George’s County believes that they are well suited for the new FBI Headquarters not only from the cost advantage but also because of a diverse talent pool, transportation infrastructure, and strategic location.
- Investments around Transit Oriented Developments are key to the future growth of Prince George’s County.
- Development around the New Carrollton Train Hall will be transformative for the region connecting all modes of transportation and creating 27,000 jobs.
- Regardless of the Washington Commanders decision to stay or leave FedEx field, the county plans to continue investments to create a sports and entertainment district.
- While there is a $60 million budget shortfall, the county is committed to maintaining core services without raising taxes.
One big question on everyone’s mind is the process for the site selection of the new FBI Headquarters, a decision that is still pending within the General Services Administration. Alsobrooks, along with Governor Moore and several other state and federal officials made a strong showing in Washington, D.C. in March to make the case for Prince George’s County as the best option, not only in cost advantage but in transportation infrastructure, strategic location, and access to a diverse and highly educated talent pool. This potential project highlights the “struggles and strengths” of Prince George’s County and its residents especially from an equity standpoint. Historically, Fairfax County has received nearly 4 times the investment from the Federal Government when compared to Prince George’s County – $460 billion vs $120 billion.
Along the Blue Line Corridor, the county determined they could make the most impact from their investment through Transit Oriented Development (TOD). For the first time, they worked with the Maryland Stadium Authority to invest $475 million into development of these types of projects. This spurred private investment of $700+ million along the corridor through new commercial and residential construction. The goal here has been investment in historically underserved communities to close the wealth gap and create generational wealth.
Another project already underway is creating a New Carrollton Train Hub, connecting Metrorail, bus. Amtrak, MARC, the Purple Line, parking, and bicycle infrastructure under one roof. This project will prove to be transformative, with Metro already opening its Maryland headquarters there and several other apartment buildings in different phases of construction. This development has the potential to create over 27,000 jobs in New Carrollton alone.
Since the Washington Commanders have officially announced the sale of the team, pending NFL approval, Alsobrooks and state officials remain optimistic on keeping the team in Prince George’s County. The county remains committed to investing in the area regardless of the team’s decision to stay or leave and the community surrounding FedEx Field should not be held hostage by that decision. The goal is still to improve upon and create a world class sports and entertainment destination.
Prince George’s County, like many other counties in our region and across the country, is grappling with a $60 million budget shortfall, presenting significant challenges. Tough decisions must be made while ensuring that essential services are maintained. Overburdening taxpayers is not a viable long-term solution to address the deficit, and the county acknowledges the limitations of relying heavily on residential property tax revenue. Instead, the focus should be on expanding the commercial tax base, attracting new businesses, and avoiding tax increases.
Quality education is the most important focus, and the county sees this as the key to a better life. The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Kirwan) laid out by the Maryland State Department of Education is also facing some funding issues. Out of $189 million in new revenue for the county, $84 million had to be allocated to Kirwan spending. Overall, education accounts for 62% of Prince George’s County budget so while the county remains committed to education funding, perhaps there should be a change to the formula in the coming years.
Finally, the county, and the region as a whole, has seen an increase in crime, specifically violent crime being perpetrated by young people. Prince George’s County has invested in programs aimed at addressing the long-standing systematic issues contributing to crime. However, holding individuals accountable for their actions is another significant aspect of addressing this complex issue. Impacting the County Executives approach to the issue is her previous position as State’s Attorney. Notably, Alsobrooks highlighted a striking statistic: 72% of all arrests in the county involved perpetrators under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This issue necessitates addressing through healthcare treatment rather than resorting to imprisonment.