Meuser To Amazon: Bring HQ2 To 9th District
The region’s newest congressmen wants New York City’s loss to become Northeast Pennsylvania’s gain by trying to lure online retail giant Amazon to build its second headquarters here. U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, who represents about half of Luzerne County, has asked Amazon to come to his 9th District because it is the “geographic keystone of highway and rail transportation” between New York and New England. “... We offer immediate and cost-effective advantages for a global distribution company seeking efficient and affordable access to critical transportation networks,” Meuser wrote in a letter to Amazon’s CEO Jeffrey Bezos. Meuser, R-Dallas, cited Interstates 80 and 81, which intersect in southern Luzerne County near Hazleton, along with Interstate 78, which links Allentown and the state’s capital of Harrisburg. Additionally the Pennsylvania Turnpike, or Interstate 476, runs through the 9th district to Philadelphia, Meuser noted. The congressman wrote that Amazon “already knows the logistical advantages of the region” by operating a distribution center in Hazle Twp. Amazon, based in Seattle, recently backed out of bringing its second headquarters to Queens, New York, after push back from local officials, including Meuser’s fellow freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx. Meuser said residents and elected officials from Northeast Pennsylvania would welcome the $2.5 billion Amazon plans to spend building the headquarters and the 25,000 jobs it will create. Another second headquarters is planned for Arlington, Virginia. Penn’s Northeast, a regional economic development agency, previously made a 100-page proposal for Amazon to come to the area. It was one of about 240 proposals from around the country that Amazon received. In his letter, Meuser noted his district — which also includes all or parts of Berks, Carbon, Columbia, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties — is a two-hour drive between New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. About 60 percent of the nation’s population lives within a 10-hour drive, Meuser wrote. Meuser said the “backbone of the district is an educated, hard-working and world-class workforce.” “Amazon would be fortunate to include more of our residents among its ranks,” Meuser said. The area offers an attractive business climate as well, he said. “Thanks to low energy costs, minimal red tape, effective community revitalization efforts and forward-thinking community leaders, our area would welcome the presence of a new, responsible employer committed to strengthening local economies,” Meuser wrote.