$300 Million

The Post recently asked me – and eight other Washingtonians – what they would do with the city’s projected budget surplus. Here’s what I told them:

The city should invest in a free wireless Internet system for downtown. It would make living and working in D.C. easier and, from an economic development point of view, attract creative, tech-savvy people and businesses. – ROB GOODSPEED
Editor, DCist.com, a blog about the District

I actually told them that I would have saved the money for a rainy day – and a steady income stream from investment would help buttress the city against any future economic downturn. However, wireless internet is something I’ve written about before and seems like a sound infastructure investment for cities. (See the organization Free Press’s page on public internet – something that’s been challenged or banned in several states.)

When I was in San Francisco I was struck by how the real estate market compared with D.C.: in D.C. it seems the skyline is covered with construction cranes and virtually every Metro station has seen substantial development. The 24th Street BART station where I met Jackson for lunch, on the other hand, seemed unaffected by the location of a major commuter rail system station – the station was flanked by a 1-story McDonalds and some other old 1-story buildings. In fact, although the San Francisco economy seemed strong, there was nowhere near the level of development now underway in similar neighborhoods in D.C. – the city center and near rail and freeways.

Author: Rob Goodspeed