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DC Fears New Casino Will Make Traffic Woes Even Worse

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A new casino opening in the Washington, D.C., region threatens to bring disastrous traffic conditions to the already horrible congestion at National Harbor.

Officials are worried the MGM National Harbor, set to open in November in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will have ruinous impacts on traffic in the area. The National Harbor is a busy hub for travelers going in and out of Maryland. The number of vehicles on the National Harbor beltway increased by roughly 27,000 vehicles per day in the last seven years, reports NBC Washington.

“The National Harbor will become a place where nobody wants to go because of all the gridlock and sitting in incessant, bumper-to-bumper traffic,” John Townsend, the manager of public and government affairs for AAA’s mid-Atlantic region, told NBC Washington. “Now, at that spot, is a bottleneck. And the big question is what happens when a casino comes online?”

Officials in Prince George’s County are working with representatives from MGM to craft a plan to avoid the potential impact it will have on local roads, such as providing alternate travel routes. Officials will also encourage travelers to use public transportation so they can avoid the roadways.

MGM National Harbor opened its National Employment Center in June to begin staffing and training before the casino’s expected opening this fall. MGM will employ roughly 3,600 workers for roughly 100 different titles by its grand opening.

MGM promised 40 percent of employees will be residents of Prince George’s County in its agreement with community officials. In addition to the new jobs the casino will create for the local community, MGM provided roughly 2,000 jobs during the construction process. The construction cost of the casino is estimated at roughly $1.3 billion.

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