When it comes to Austin landing Amazon’s second headquarters project, many residents here don’t appear to be very interested.
A new survey by Elon University found that of the 19 U.S. locations still in contention for the $5 billion project, Austin-area residents showed some of the lowest levels of support.
About 13 percent of Austin-area residents surveyed said they were against landing the project - the second-highest percentage behind Denver. About 36 percent said they strongly support landing the project, fourth-lowest among all the potential U.S. sites.
North Carolina-based Elon University said it typically interviews about 500 to 600 people 18 years or older when conducting polls.
The private university’s findings are not much of a surprise. Since Seattle-based Amazon announced its HQ2 project project last fall, promising to bring up to 50,000 jobs to the city it picks, some Austin residents have taken to social media and other platforms to voice concern.
Nervousness increased after Amazon in January named Austin as one of 20 locations in the U.S. and Canada to have bids remaining in the running for the project.
Although economic experts have largely said HQ2 should be a boon to the winning city, people in Austin are worried that HQ2 could have a negative impact on factors such as traffic, the environment and affordability. Residents have also criticized the selection process, with Austin officials refusing to disclose what was included in the area’s bid when it was submitted in October.
Others, such as human rights activists, have said Texas is not a deserving place for HQ2 because state laws lack protections for gay and transgender individuals.
“It is shocking that Amazon would consider locating HQ2 with its over 50,000 employees in a state that doesn’t protect LGBT people or their families,” No Gay, No Way, a group formed to advocate against Amazon choosing Texas and eight other states for HQ2, said. “In these nine states, it is legal to fire someone, deny them housing or refuse them service just because of who they are or who they love.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has also been circumspect when discussing the HQ2 project.
“I don’t know that we want to be” Amazon’s second hub, Adler told the Texas Tribune in March. Adler has also said HQ2 could spur officials to tackle some of the city’s problems. In a letter included in Austin’s bid, Adler wrote that Austin and Amazon “can help each other achieve solutions to our biggest challenges.”
It is not clear when Amazon will choose its destination for HQ2. The company has said only that the decision will come before the end of the year.
News on Open Source is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of 512tech.com comes with an American-Statesman digital subscription, which also includes myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe at statesman.com/subscribe.