Inauguration Day

Why DC Officials Are Expecting Next Presidential Inauguration to Be the Most Expensive Yet

Mayor Bowser estimates that local costs for the upcoming presidential inauguration will skyrocket

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It takes a lot of coordination, manpower and money to put on a presidential inauguration. Although it's a federal event, for decades much of the responsibility has fallen on the D.C. government, including security, preparation of the parade route and construction of the review stands outside the White House and the District's Wilson Building.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is estimating that local costs for the upcoming presidential inauguration will skyrocket due to concerns over COVID-19 and the likelihood of civil unrest.

District officials estimate this inauguration will be far more expensive than any other.

"In 2017, we had a total cost of about $27 million. For this inauguration, we are estimating close to $44.9 million," said Christopher Rodriguez, director of D.C.'s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

Rodriguez said the federal government reimburses the D.C. government for those costs -- or at least they're supposed to.

Since 2017, the D.C. government has been trying to get fully repaid by the federal government, but according to a letter that Bowser sent to President Donald Trump, the District is still owed $7.3 million from Trump's January 2017 inauguration, and so far, the White House has not explained why.

That's prompted concern by some councilmembers, including Councilmember At-Large Elissa Silverman, who thinks the federal government should be handling the costs and logistics. She's also opposed to D.C. building its own review stand for the mayor and council in front of the Wilson Building.

"I'm just not sure why we should spend District dollars on a luxury box, especially at this time, when people and businesses are hurting," Silverman said.

Rodriguez echoed what Bowser has said about the District's role in the historic event.

"Being in the District of Columbia and being the nation's capital, we have a unique responsibility to carry out either the peaceful continuation or the peaceful transfer of power," Rodriguez said.

News4 reached out to the White House for comment but did not get a reply.

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