Austin still in the running for Amazon HQ2

Last year the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce submitted a bid throwing Austin's hat in the ring for Amazon's HQ2...a second headquarters. The other one is in Seattle.

Thursday morning the company announced they've narrowed 238 proposals from cities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico down to just 20.

Houston is out. Austin and Dallas are still in the game. The city that gets Amazon will see an investment of more than $5 billion along with as many as 50,000 jobs.

The Chamber sent FOX 7 a statement saying "We are pleased that the Austin region has advanced to the second round. We look forward to presenting the best of what our region has to offer and how we can partner with Amazon. At this point we have no further information."

At City Hall Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Ann Kitchen seem to be cautiously optimistic about the news. "I still not have heard of any conversations about offering incentives and I would conclude with...ultimately there needs to be a very open and transparent community conversation about Amazon," Adler said.

"We need to be talking about what our citizens need here and any kind of discussion will have to be a transparent conversation," Kitchen said.

Kitchen says she's not interested in doing economic development agreements the way they've been done in the past. "This is not about asking a company to come here and giving them tax breaks. I'm not in favor of that," she said.

Mike Levy moved to Austin in 1969 and started Texas Monthly in the early '70s. He's familiar with the inner workings of Austin. Levy says Amazon coming here would increase demand for housing.

"If you are really committed to affordability, you don't invite 50,000 people to Austin, you just don't it's stupid," Levy said. And we can't forget the tens of thousands of new cars on the road.

"That's just going to compound Austin's traffic problem, surely the Mayor understands that. You know the city staff they don't care, they are anti-car. They are pro-bus, pro-bicycle," Levy said.

"That just points out, we're past due as a city for really looking at high-capacity transit. In other words, what do we need to be doing to enhance our rail system, enhance our bus system?" Kitchen said. Amazon says the next step is working with each of the 20 cities to "dive deeper into their proposals." They're expected to make a decision sometime this year.

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