Friday, November 21, 2008

Four Million For Obama Inaugural? It Won't Happen

We've seen some speculation this week that as many as four million people could turn out in January for Obama's inaugural festivities.

Don't count on it. That's one of those extreme numbers that gets invented by the same folks who thought turnout in the recent election would shatter records--which it didn't.

One reason it won't happen is that it would be physically impossible to get that many visitors into D.C. The Washington metro area has a population of roughly 5 million, only a small fraction of whom commute into D.C. on any given day.

There's certainly fewer than 100,000 hotel rooms in the region, even if you go out 100 miles, and there's only so many planes, trains and buses that come in each day.

Metro can handle about a million people on its subway cars (at least in summer--we're not so sure about in January when everyone's wearing a coat!), and maybe another 500,000 on buses, but that's about it.

So, while there may be 4 million who'd LIKE to come here for the inaugural, we're confident it won't actually happen. That said, there could be 1-2 million, which is still a LOT of folks in town.

The Curmudgeon family is trying to decide what to do--it's a four day school weekend for the little Curmudgeons, so we just might go off skiing and leave the crowds behind.

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