Video: Governor Signs Bills to Help Revitalize Metro Detroit

By Mike Brownfield | December 20, 2012


For the past 40 years, legislators in Lansing have tried and failed to create a regional transit authority for the Metro Detroit area -- an achievement seen as a necessary linchpin for Southeast Michigan's continued economic development. Yesterday in Detroit, that goal was finally realized as Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill to create the much-needed authority.

But that's not all.

In addition to creating a regional transit authority, Governor Snyder also signed bills to help revitalize street lighting to Detroit, aid in the development of Eastern Market, and further the development of a new home to the Detroit Red Wings as well as residential, office and retail space. All told, these new measures -- combined with other major regional projects -- are expected to bring nearly $8 billion in public-private sector investment and more than 25,000 new jobs to the region.

Governor Snyder explained that a revitalized Detroit and the surrounded metropolitan area is vital for Michigan's overall success.

"The reinvention of Michigan will not be complete without a strong Detroit," Snyder said. "These significant steps will help to energize the community by encouraging job creation and improving neighborhoods. We're working in partnership to ensure a prosperous future for the city and all of southeast Michigan."

Governor Snyder signed the legislation at D:hive, a non-profit Detroit-based organization on Woodward Avenue that connects visitors, new residents, and businesses with the tools and resources you need to live, work or engage in the city. He was joined by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, State Senator Bert Johnson, State Representative Maureen L. Stapleton, Christopher Ilitch of Ilitch Holdings, Dan Carmody of Eastern Market, and a wide-ranging assembly of state and local elected officials from both sides of the political aisle. Together, they represented a bipartisan, public-private partnership to bring these important pieces of legislation to fruition.

The following summarizes the legislation that Governor Snyder signed into law:

Regional Transit Authority -- $500 million in new investment, $3 billion in spinoff investment, and 5,345 new jobs created

Under the new law, the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties will be established and empowered to integrate all modes of public transportation under one authority. In doing so, the Authority will be able to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars of public and private investment.

Detroit Lighting Authority -- $160 million in new investment

Today, the lights are out in much of the city of Detroit, with tens of thousands of lighting fixtures not operational. Under the new legislation, Detroit will have the ability to create a Detroit Lighting Authority, and existing Detroit utility taxes will be used to pay back bonds that will fund the $160 million in repair costs.

New Ice Arena -- $650 million in new investment, $1.8 billion in spinoff investment, 8,300 construction jobs created

Olympia Entertainment, which is owned by the Mike Ilitch family, plans to build a new ice arena for the Detroit Red Wings in the downtown Detroit area. Under the new legislation, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority can continue receiving funds to support a proposed $650 million investment project.

Eastern Market -- $11 million in new investment

Eastern Market is a six-block public market in Detroit that is home to hundreds of open-air stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, meat and locally produced food products. Under the new legislation, nonprofit organizations like Eastern Market can apply for grants and loans under the Community Revitalization Program. Grants and loans will be made available to help Eastern Market continue to grow and thrive, serving the public and helping locally owned businesses and farmers.

Click here to read more about the efforts to revitalize Metro Detroit.