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Detroit Regional Chamber and 220 Employers Announce “Employers for Transit” Coalition

MACKINAC ISLAND, MICH. May 30, 2018 –Today at the Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber in partnership with 220 businesses and nonprofit organizations announced the formation of the “Employers for Transit” coalition urging the region’s political leadership to come together and allow voters to determine the future of transit in the region during the November election.  This effort builds upon a recent call for action on transit by 23 CEOs of the largest corporations in the region.

Detroit remains the largest metropolitan area in the nation without a seamless regional transit system.  Transit providers, such as SMART and the Detroit Department of Transportation, serve residents in their respective footprints but lack the long-term secure funding necessary for significant capital investments and are also limited in their geographical reach.  The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA), created by the state Legislature in 2012, was painstakingly negotiated by elected leaders in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties and the City of Detroit to provide region-wide transit services.  The RTA is compiling public comments on a proposed plan and may make adjustments to the plan prior to asking the full RTA board to place the plan on the ballot.

The Employers for Transit Coalition represents employers from the entire four-county region in the private and nonprofit sector including automotive suppliers, universities and health care.  Collectively, the signers employ more than 267,217 in the region. The Coalition members all signed on to a statement that said:

“Safely and efficiently moving people and goods is a critical component to a healthy economy.  The Detroit region is thriving and growing, however, by any measure, Southeast Michigan lags the rest of the nation in the development and use of public transit.  Amazon noted the state of public transit as a key reason why Detroit was not chosen as a finalist for Amazon’s HQ2 – as have other potential employers.

Voters deserve an opportunity to determine the future of the region.  As members of the Employers for Transit Coalition, we call on our elected leaders and the RTA Board of Directors to place a transit plan on the ballot this November that will finally expand mobility options throughout Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.  We consider moving forward on regional transit a critical element of this region’s economic prosperity.”

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber said a rapid transit system will ensure a healthier labor market in the future.

“SMART opt-out communities like Bloomfield Hills, Livonia and Novi have thousands of open jobs that are completely inaccessible by public transit, leaving those communities behind in the chase for talent,” said Baruah.  “The most successful regions require a regional system to attract talent, get employees to work and customers to businesses’ front door.  Our regional leadership should start leading the region to a more prosperous future.”

“Over the last decade, our region has made incredible progress. We have strengthened and diversified our economy, and we have experienced investment in our region at a rapid pace. And yet there is an important piece missing in our region’s success story: we lack a workable regional transit system. This is not a new challenge in our region – it is decades old.  And it is past time to get going and get it done.  We’re asking our leaders to find a rapid transit system they can agree upon in order get it on the ballot this November,” said Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy.

Voice of Employers

“As one of the region’s largest employers, Beaumont Health is well aware of the challenges our employees face without a seamless regional transit system. We also compete to attract the best and brightest health care talent from across the country. A more coordinated and reliable regional mass transit system would greatly benefit both current and future Beaumont employees,” Carolyn Wilson, chief operating officer Beaumont Health, said.

“A mass transit system in Southeast Michigan would help attract and maintain more of the talented young people we need in the automotive industry,” said Karen Manardo, global director of marketing, communications and government relations for Inteva Products. “Inteva supports the development of a mass transit system because it is good for our region, our customers and our employees.”

“A regional transit system is critical for patients who may have to travel to see their physicians for management of urgent and chronic disease. It truly can be a life or death issue,” said Bob Riney, president of Healthcare Operations and chief operating officer for Henry Ford Health System. “A new transit system will serve the entire region and make significant in-roads in solving one of the contributing factors to a major public health issue.”

Visit www.employersfortransit.com to see a list of some of the companies who have signed to the coalition.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

About DTE Energy

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading.  As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

About Beaumont Health

Beaumont Health is Michigan’s largest health care system for inpatient admissions and net patient revenue and is most preferred for health care in the tri-county area, according to National Research Corp. survey data. A not-for-profit organization, it was formed in 2014 by Beaumont Health System, Botsford Hospital and Oakwood Healthcare to provide patients with the benefit of greater access to extraordinary, compassionate care, no matter where they live in Southeast Michigan. Beaumont Health has total net revenue of $4.4 billion and consists of eight hospitals with 3,429 beds, 187 outpatient sites, nearly 5,000 physicians, 38,000 employees and 3,500 volunteers. In 2017, Beaumont Health had 175,688 inpatient discharges, 17,789 births and 574,591 emergency visits. For more information, visit beaumont.org.

About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System is a six-hospital system headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive, integrated health systems, recognized for clinical excellence and innovation. With more than 60 clinical locations, Henry Ford provides both health insurance and health care delivery, including acute, specialty, primary and preventive care services backed by excellence in research and education. Henry Ford Health System is led by President & CEO Wright Lassiter III. Visit HenryFord.com to learn more.

About Inteva Products, LLC

Inteva Products, LLC is a leading global automotive supplier providing automakers with innovative, reliable, environmentally friendly products that enhance vehicle quality, safety and performance. Inteva has global resources for engineering, manufacturing and customer service for Closure Systems, Interior Systems, Motors and Electronics, and Roof Systems. Formed in 2008, the tier-one supplier utilizes  innovative solutions and  advanced technology to drive value-based solutions. Inteva employs more than 12,000 people in 50 sites globally and maintains its World Headquarters in Troy, Michigan USA. The company has invested more than $180 million in the State of Michigan since its founding, with more than half that investment made over the last two years.

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