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Boston Mayor Does Not Plan To Enter Multibillion-Dollar Amazon HQ2 Incentive Race

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is departing for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet.

Those expecting Boston to trump the multibillion-dollar Amazon HQ2 incentive offers from the likes of Maryland and Newark should not hold their breath.

Maryland lawmakers have approved up to $8.5B in incentives to bring Amazon’s second headquarters within their state lines, and one of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s final acts in office was to approve a plan that would give up to $7B in incentives to Amazon if it decided to set up shop in the Garden State.

While Massachusetts has never been expected to commit to a figure that high, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh confirmed this week the city would not offer incentives on that scale unless they came attached to costly infrastructure fixes, the Boston Business Journal reports

“You can't give away $5B," Walsh said on Bloomberg’s Baystate Business radio in reference to the Maryland Amazon HQ2 incentive package. "You just can't. I mean, that's a lot of money."

While leaders in other shortlist regions are looking to provide hefty incentive plans as a bargaining chip to win over Amazon, Boston’s mentality has been to find the best deal for Boston. Its location, educated workforce and pipeline of talent from its numerous colleges and universities are natural incentives, Walsh said to Bloomberg. 

Infrastructure is “a different conversation” to Walsh and is one area where Boston would be willing to commit funds in an Amazon HQ2 incentive plan. The arrival of 50,000 Amazon employees to the city would put a strain on city resources, especially the crowded MBTA subway network. He noted the city’s official bid to Amazon includes upgrades to the Blue Line. A proposed Red Line-Blue Line connector touted in the bid was estimated to cost $750M in 2010. 

The MBTA is expected to embark on a three-month study to determine the feasibility of connecting the two lines. The connection would greatly reduce travel time between tech-heavy Kendall Square in Cambridge and Suffolk Downs, the city-favored site for HQ2 in East Boston

Related Topics: MBTA, Mayor Martin Walsh, Amazon HQ2