Region-wide concept plan shows trade corridor cooperation
Bay, Midland Excluded from Mid-Michigan Intermodal Trade Corridor Plan
Satellite Centers will Feed Two Multi-Modal Hubs Including MBS Airport
April 14, 2003
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By: Dave Rogers
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) plans to spend $1.8 billion, mainly federal dollars, over the next 25 years to develop the I-69/I-75 Mid-Michigan Intermodal Trade Corridor.
Bay and Midland counties are excluded from spending forthe plan, which will involve Saginaw, Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer and St. Clair counties.
MDOT planning officials have explained that costs of the project have limited it to the five counties. However, economic developers as well as governmentalofficials in Bay and Midland counties indicate they will seek some way to connect with the trade corridor plan.
"We definitely would favor cooperative interaction with this program since it will be marketing the entire region," said Bay County Executive Thomas L. Hickner.
Hickner has been working with officials in Saginaw and Midland counties on economic development cooperation on a tri-county basis. One aspect of that cooperation will be highlighted Tuesday, April 15 in a presentation at 7 p.m. in the Monitor Township Hall. An overview and status report on the grant funded project, LinkMBS, aimed at telecommunications and high speed Internet access will be presented.
"Valley Center Technology Park offers a wide variety of industries which could interact very well with those in the target counties through the inter-modal hubs," said Cliff Van Dyke, president of the Bay County Growth Alliance, developer and manager of the park, located at US-10 and Mackinaw Road in Monitor Township, Bay County.
The Trade Corridor Plan will help the five target counties "capitalize on their location at the crossroads of a national and international transportation network." A recent MDOT report, featuring results of a study by the Corradino Group of Michigan, Inc., notes: "The vision of this study is to develop a major regional intermodal freight system serving air, surface, rail and waterway transportation needs with seamless interaction among all transportation modes."
The TradeCorridor Plan provides: "a competitive advantage for commodity flow; creates a new dimension in the region's economy; and, improves the quality of life for the region's citizens."
The hub and satellite concept used in Youngstown, Louisville and Fort Worth will be followed in further developing Flint"s Bishop and Saginaw's MBS international airports, state officials indicate.
Up to 50 satellite centers in the five counties will feed the two multimodal hubs. Each will be 50 to 300 acres and will focus on manufacturing and repairing, packaging and distribution, telecommunications and other services.
An estimated $300 million will be spent in the first five years, mainly in Genesee, Lapeer and Saginaw counties. The state will provide about 18 percent of the funding.
The plan was developed by the Mid-Michigan Trade Corridor Coalition, involving local governments, private businesses, airport authorities, chambers of commerce, and state and federal governments and their Canadian counterparts.
"By marketing the entire region, this partnership will gain the attention of industries and businesses that might overlook the efforts of a single community or county," the study states.
"Obviously, with this amount of spending focused on economic development in the region, this plan will benefit Bay County," said Mr. Hickner. "We in Bay County will seek to interact and maximize the spin-off benefits to our business and job-producing community."
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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