A 21st Century Infrastructure is essential to ensure Michigan's comeback, noted Ari Adler, communications director in the governor's office, who recapped Gov. Rick Snyder's annual State of the State address at Capitol Issues Forum Jan. 18.
The governor's goals are to improve 'hard' infrastructure such as water and sewer systems, roads and bridges, as well as the 'soft' infrastructure such as public education and the continuing revitalization of Michigan communities.
"The water lines and sewer lines buried in the ground have rapidly approaching, or past, expiration dates," Adler explained, noting that 'coordinated asset management' is needed. During an infrastructure project, contractors who manage construction, electric, water, internet, etc. need to communicate so that roads are only torn up once instead of multiple times. Regarding the status of the Flint Water Crisis, Adler said lead pipes are in the process of being replaced, and that many in Flint are using water filters.
To improve Michigan's education system, 'accountable education' practices must be adopted by teachers, state government, parents and students. Adler said the First Robotics National Competition coming to Detroit this year is a great example of ensuring quality education for students while combining innovation and the tech industry to create global appeal in Michigan.
"More inbound than outbound moves in Michigan", means a reversal of the Michigan 'brain drain', Adler noted, with an increase in job opportunities and the surge in attractiveness to Michigan over the past several years. Many employers, especially in the skilled labor industry, are still unable to fill job openings. With advances in the automotive industry and potential health care changes on the horizon, he stressed that Michigan, "can't just be the leader of the present, but must stay the leader into the future" and continue to attract business and entrepreneurial innovation.
Echoing the governor's optimism about Michigan's future, Adler mentioned that the governor is looking 20 to 30 years ahead and is dedicated to the growth of Michigan's communities so that the state can make a full comeback. With many projects outlined within his address, the governor's goal is progress for Michigan now and for posterity.