The MGM Casino complex, which is just one vote away from being allowed to begin construction, is planned to be functioning by mid-2016 on the bank facing the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, still has some undecided transport issues.
MGM National Harbor casino resort is anticipates welcoming around 8,000 to 10,000 visitors/per day and keeping in mind the large number of employees, around 4,000, that will make a serious traffic flow on this already popular area and will add an enormous amount of traffic to the roads in this booming area.
Future MGM Casino in Oxon Hill, USA causes some transport issues
• Residents are worried that the traffic will become too heavy
• The transport situation in Prince George county is already difficult
• MGM promises to invest in transport management plan
So far MGM Resorts International reps as well as county officials insist that the current infrastructure is capable of handling the new expected traffic, but according to a serious number of residents and civil society leaders, the area will have significant troubles with the additional traffic coming from the gambling complex.
Obie Patterson, Prince George’s County Council member who represents the area, commented: “No one seems to be talking about how we are going to move around in this part of the county. It is almost irresponsible for MGM to say, ‘We are working on a transportation plan.’ We should know what that plan is before we give them authority to move forward.”
Patterson, who seems to be one of the biggest opposers of the MGM’s transportation plan in the council, doesn’t expect any plan from the casino corporation, which follows all US gambling laws.
The critical vote, which will allow the beginning of the casino complex construction, is today and so far it seems that the vote will be positive. The county is considering the $925 million project as serious economic opportunity for the area as well as solid tax revenue for the county of around$40 million/per year.
The officials dealing with the casino project insist that there is already an elaborate transportation plan, which is being developed that will satisfy all the parties in the traffic, including pedestrians. Still, the residents are afraid that MGM won’t invest enough in road improvements and public transit, which will worsen the traffic and will affect the life of everyone in the area.
So far MGM has promised to invest around $3.6 million for improvements around the complex and there are also plans to build new road as an alternative to the Oxon Hill Road.
The MGM traffic analysis shows that the site will create about 452 trips at a typical weekday morning peak and around 2,296 during the afternoon peak. Lorenzo Creighton, president and CEO of MGM National Harbor, spoke at the Maryland panel, which gave MGM the state’s sixth casino license in 2013 saying: “I don’t think there’s a better site in North America. Location, location, location.”
MGM officials’ claimed that the convenient access to and from the Capital Beltway and Interstate 295, will bring the majority of the casino traffic from the freeways and far less from the local smaller roads.
However, according to the opposing residents, these calculations are not quite accurate, as they were made before the opening of a huge mall, ignoring the fact that the traffic in the area is already pretty busy.
William Nuckols, National Harbor resident, said: “This assumption that there is only a few people that go home that way is completely erroneous. Anybody taking an afternoon trip out there on any weekday will be able to show that there is already an existing problem. Traffic is a mess.”
Many unsolved issues
The additional tension regarding the traffic issues in Prince George caused by the future MGM casino, made it into the gambling news quite quickly pointing out the difficulties, which the complex may create for the residents. Keeping in mind that this district has already turned into a main attraction in this area, the traffic situation is not getting any better.
For now the MGM’s plan is to build fancy gambling facility with a 300-suite glass-tower hotel, and thousands of opportunities to gamble at table games, slot machines, etc. Additionally, there will be a concert theater, restaurants, spa and upscale shopping opportunities.
Patterson, commented last week: “It will get approved,” when he was still undecided how he’ll vote. He added that some conditions to the plan, has to be implemented, so that the residents will have some security about the execution of the potential traffic plan.
Gordon M. Absher, spokesman for MGM Resorts International, assured that the company is devoted to address properly the transport situation, so that both visitors and residents are satisfied.
He added: “We are a resort, and we expect to be subject to increased scrutiny. The only thing unusual about this project is the expectation that all of these issues should be settled this far in advance.”