Inauguration expected to pour $1 billion into District’s economy.
Residual effects to last after city takes center of world stage
The District stands to gain more than $1 billion in revenue from hotels, restaurants and retail stores, with over 1 million people set to descend on the city for the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump next month.
“This is our Super Bowl,” said Jim Dinegar, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. “It’s a big part of our visibility, and there’s a lot of exposure worldwide.”
The economic benefits of the inauguration on Jan. 20 will depend largely on the number of people who show up that Friday and through the weekend, be they revelers or protesters.
Officials expect up to 400,000 people to attend the official inauguration events. Another 500,000 to 1 million people are expected to show up over the weekend for protests and related events.
The inauguration’s total economic impact could range from $1.04 billion to $1.34 billion, said George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller. But that depends on a lot of factors, including the weather, he said.
Mr. Fuller’s estimate took into account spending on accommodations, food, beverages, local transportation, retail trade and recreation/entertainment. He did not include spending by local residents “as their money is already here and would be a transfer from other options for local spending.” He also excluded air, train and bus fares from outside the region.
The Women’s March on Washington, the largest planned protest, received permit approval from the National Park Service in early December and is expecting a few hundred thousand participants.
A Facebook page for the event shows that 156,000 people are confirmed to attend and another 240,000 are interested in attending. The protesters will gather at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street Southwest near the U.S. Capitol at 10 a.m. on Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration.
Mr. Dinegar said the economic bump for the region extends long after every inauguration, especially when TV viewers become attracted to Washington.
“It’s a great spotlight on the Greater Washington region and not just for that week,” he said. “It can last years. People see it. They hear about it. And they want to be in that same space.”
Before it can reap any benefits from inauguration spending, the city must take on a multiagency, multijurisdictional plan to ensure that the event goes off smoothly. Though the inauguration is largely a federal affair, the District bears the brunt of the work to prepare for the ceremony, parade and protests.
“Inauguration preparation requires extensive coordination, planning, rehearsal, security, logistics and cleanup by District government,” said Nicole Peckumn, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
The city expects to spend about $32 million, including for activities leading up to and associated with the inauguration. The District will not have to foot the entire bill, though. Congress has appropriated $19.9 million for the inauguration in the fiscal 2017 budget. An additional funding request in next fiscal year’s budget will make up part of the shortfall.
“The District will cover the additional cost through a combination of federal and local funds to ensure for the overall safety and security of inaugural activities,” Ms. Peckumn said.
The city will need to coordinate fire and emergency medical services and police responses, along with road closures, alternate routes, cleanup and waste disposal.
Six other D.C. agencies play large roles in the inauguration:
● The Departments of Public Works and Transportation will sanitize the parade route and develop snow removal and transportation management plans.
● D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the Health Department will provide medical coverage and planning.
● The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs along with FEMS will coordinate venue inspections and vending, licensing and permitting activities.
● The Metropolitan Police Department, in coordination with law enforcement personnel from across the country, will assist with security and ceremonial details.
“This is our Super Bowl. It’s a big part of our visibility, and there’s a lot of exposure worldwide.” — Jim Dinegar, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade