Nampa may get Amazon’s 3,000 jobs. What will Meridian get? More traffic, mayor says

If Amazon opens a big fulfillment center in Nampa, it could create 3,000 jobs, Nampa officials say. But all those workers will bring more traffic to roads leading to it. That worries Meridian city leaders.

Meridian would receive none of the tax benefits of the center but would receive new burdens, Mayor Tammy de Weerd said Thursday.

“This is going to have a huge impact on that area,” De Weerd said at a joint meeting of the Meridian City Council and the Ada County Highway Commission. “It indicates probably new pressures for housing and additional services.”

The center would be at the southwest corner of Franklin and Star roads in Nampa, a mile west of the western boundary of Meridian’s area of impact. (A city’s area of impact includes areas outside city limits that the city expects to annex sooner or later.) It could generate about 7,000 trips per day during the peak delivery season, including an estimated 358 truck trips, according to a traffic impact study.

De Weerd said she wants a meeting with officials from the city of Nampa and the Nampa Highway District “to have some coordination.” After asking ACHD officials who should set up such a meeting, she volunteered to have her own staff do it.

Her comments came two days after the Nampa City Council authorized an agreement with the project’s developer, who will fund $14 million in payments and roadway improvements aimed at alleviating the increased traffic expected when construction ends.

Amazon’s involvement is still not officially confirmed except for a brief mention in a city filing last year that referred to it as “PREDEV — Amazon BTS,” though signs point to Amazon’s involvement. The project has been labeled “Project Bronco” since it became public last June. The developer is Panattoni Development Co. Inc. of Newport Beach, California, which has worked with Amazon on other projects.

The construction projects that Project Bronco has agreed to fund are mostly concentrated near the project site — and it took six months of negotiations for the developer to agree to that, Nampa’s economic development director, Beth Ineck, previously told the Statesman.

Ineck did not immediately respond to voice-mail messages seeking comment Thursday on Meridian’s concerns.

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David Staats is business editor of the Idaho Statesman, which he joined in 2004. He has assigned, edited and reported business, politics, government and other Idaho stories since 2006.Get the top Idaho business stories of the week in a free email every Monday morning. Go here, then press the “Select” button under Idaho Business.