Thirty-three communities along the I-69 corridor in Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, and Shiawassee counties and several in the Grand Traverse area have signed inter-local agreements to form trade corridors and become hubs for commerce and freight and logistics in their regions.
Both have initiatives have received a Next Michigan Development Corporation/Aerotropolis designation from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
As noted in a press release from the Prima Civitas Foundation, the goal of the I-69 initiative is to "enable the I-69 Corridor to market the region's collective strengths to businesses that are engaged in international multi-modal commerce as an alternative to the congestion occuring at other border crossings, rail shipping/receiving yards, and airports." As a region there are many such assets including Bishop Airport, major freeways, the Blue Water Bridge, CSX and Canadian National rails, and several water ports.
These regional collaboartive efforts involve not only local government but other public sector entities and the private sector as well. Public/Private regional collaboration on economic development is a key element in creating the vibrant kinds of places emphasized in the League's Center for 21st Century Communities program.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.