One of our best opportunities to build a New Michigan economy is to leverage our unique geographic location, particularly our proximity to Canada, and underutilized logistics infrastructure to transform Michigan into a "Gateway to the Midwest." In the past year, significant progress has been made toward achieving this goal:
- The State released a strategic plan to guide the overall initiative.
- A Presidential permit was granted approving construction of the New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor.
- The Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded funds to the state's Next Michigan Development Zones to promote their intermodal freight hubs.
- The Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Corporation, now titled VantagePort, hired its first CEO and is fully operational. VantagePort's new CEO, Tim Keyes, is a long-time economic developer familiar with the area who was able to hit the ground running.
- And, hot off the press this week, a high tech development was announced for the former Willow Run Powertrain Plant in Ypsilanti Township which is within the VantagePort boundaries. The proposal redevelops the property into a shared research and development center as well as test track for connected vehicles. This first-of-its-kind facility would serve automakers, suppliers and related technology companies.
Business Leaders for Michigan has been engaged in many of these activities and we look forward to working with our partners to continue to build successes for Michigan.