MGM National Harbor Could Exacerbate Congestion Problems

On December 8th, the MGM National Harbor casino resort is scheduled to open for business in Prince George County. While the $1.4 billion entertainment venue is expected to employ around 3,600 employees to help look after its estimated 30,000 or so daily visitors, some residents of the local community have been expressing their frustration over the potential traffic congestion that may occur as a result.
Helping to draw visitors to MGM National Harbor will be the venue’s gambling facilities, as well as its 308 bedroomed hotel, seven restaurants, 3,000-seat theater, spa, and public spaces adorned with art.
One public official estimate puts the expected traffic increases at an additional 10,000 vehicles per day, and heaping further woes on locals is the fact they will be expected to pay for the extra 200 county police officers who will be tasked with managing the traffic, especially during the first few weeks of its opening. As County Executive Rushern L. Baker III commented recently:
“The county will pay for it. We are in discussion with MGM, but a lot of the off-site activity, off the grounds of the property, the county is going to be paying for.”
Based in Maryland, the resort is also located just 10 miles from Washington, DC., although the average travel time from the capital has been calculated at a frustrating 32.8 minutes, as well as 34.7 minutes from New York City, and 33 minutes from Long Island.
Despite an anticipated congestion of the major transport arteries in the region, the resort has been hailed as an economic driver for the county, which stands to earn around $45 million in annual taxes from MGM National Harbor. The money can then be used to fund various projects, including the Education Trust Fund, the Horse Racing Purse Dedication Account, as well as other Local Impact Grants. Commenting on the situation, County Executive Baker said:
“Are people going to be completely happy? No. But we are going to do the best that we can. This is economic development for the county. We want people to come here. We want people to come here and have a good time and spend money.”

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