I attended the annual meeting of the BWI Business Partnership this morning at the BWI Marriott on West Nursey Road. The partnership was formed in 1985 to promote “the development of commuter services and the support of transportation infrastructure for employees working in and around the BWI Airport area.”
The organization has grown from its six public/private founders to 170 members today. This year the National Security Agency was recognized as the Partnerships Employer of the Year.
The past twenty five years have been a period of explosive growth in around the airport. In 1985 the airport handled 7.8 million passengers; last year it handled 21 million. Twenty five years ago there were four hotels serving the airport area; today there are 44. In twenty five years the airport area has added a light rail system connecting to Baltimore, a 12.6 mile bike trail around the airport and the airport itself has undergone a $1.8 billion expansion and renovation.
The BWI Amtrak station has grown right along with the airport and is now the 15th busiest train station in the Amtrak network.
HoCo’s economic fortunes are closely intertwined with the airport area of AA Co and the public and private sector of HoCo was well represented accross the border today.
At breakfast I had the pleasure of sitting next to Willie Wright, the general manger of the 302 room hotel. It turns out that Willie lives in Columbia (Village of Harpers Choice) and has a son in the very HoCo public school system we’ve been discussing lately.