I-69 International Trade Corridor Partners Take Major Step Toward Next Michigan/Aerotropolis Designation

Governor’s Approval Sends Application to Final Stage of the Process

FLINT TWP., MI – The I-69 International Trade Corridor partners from Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, and Shiawassee counties have taken the final step to become a Next Michigan Development Corporation (NMDC)/Aerotropolis designee. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s recent approval of the Act 7 inter-local agreement moves the partners closer to the culmination of a year-long effort that began at the invitation of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The application has now moved to the MEDC’s Michigan Strategic Fund for approval of the designation.

Thirty-three municipalities in Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair and Shiawassee counties signed on to the Inter-local agreement.

According to Tim Herman, CEO of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce, the volume of support from communities across the I-69 corridor is impressive.

“This is a significant regional partnership that offers the opportunity for all of the partners to collaborate in new and different ways,” said Herman. “Furthermore, the NMDC designation would allow the region to amplify our current efforts to reinvent Flint-Genesee County and grow the number of jobs and investment in our community.”

David Hollister, former Lansing Mayor and Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances for the Prima Civitas Foundation (PCF) concurs with Herman’s perspective. He says the I-69 International Trade Corridor partnership takes regional collaboration to a new level. PCF, an East Lansing-based foundation focused on connecting the state’s knowledge resources with public and private partners, plays a strategic advisory role with the partnership.

“I have worked on many collaborative efforts during my career, but never experienced this level of commitment among so many communities. It’s unprecedented and truly historic,” said Hollister.

The NMDC designation is expected to drive potential new business investment and jobs for the Flint-Genesee Region. And Bishop Airport will be center stage.

“When communities work together, it can only bring positive results for everyone and that’s what’s happening here…communities are pulling their resources together to move our region forward,” said Jim Rice, Director of Bishop International Airport.

The NMDC will 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 occurring at other border crossings, rail shipping/receiving yards and airports. In addition to Bishop Airport, key intermodal assets in the area include major freeways, the Blue Water Bridge, CSX and Canadian National rails, and several water ports.

“This is an exciting time for the Flint-Genesee region,” said Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development for the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The communities that have signed on to participate in the NMDC see the opportunity to partner will benefit the regions’ businesses and workers.”

The Next Michigan Development Act allows for up to five NMDCs in the state to be granted by the Michigan Strategic Fund in cooperation with the MEDC. Currently, there are two designated regions.