Statewide Business Organizations Share Statement on Budget Negotiations

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lansing Regional Chamber, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Realtors Association, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Midland Business Alliance made the following statement regarding ongoing road funding negotiations:

“As budget negotiations continue, job providers are clear that fixing Michigan’s worst-in-the-nation transportation infrastructure is a top priority. As the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission and other reports illustrate, solving this problem will require a multi-year investment of billions of new dollars.  We acknowledge there are differences of opinion regarding how to secure $2 to $2.5 billion annually, but the need is not in question.

“Michigan’s economic competitiveness is harmed by our failing infrastructure and we expect our elected leaders to work cooperatively to dramatically improve roads and bridges across the state.  The window of opportunity that exists in this nonelection year must not be wasted, and we strongly believe meaningful progress needs to be achieved prior to recessing for the summer.”

News Coverage
Crain’s Detroit Business: Michigan Business Groups to Legislature: Fix Roads Funding Before You Go on Vacation

GOP states discover a tax hike they have to like: for roads

April 14, 2019

Washington Post

David Eggert

[…]

“It’s going to take $2.5 billion a year,” said Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah of Michigan’s road-building needs. “Anyone who thinks you can cut even half of that out of other elements of the state budget without having significant ramifications to real people, you’re smoking something that’s not legal.”

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won election last year after running on the slogan “Fix the Damn Roads.” Her plan would gradually add 45 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas by October 2020, which would be more than double the current 26-cents-per-gallon gas tax and make it the highest in the country. GOP legislative leaders have dismissed the proposed hike as way too much, but they are leaving open the prospect of passing a more modest increase in the face of intense pressure from the business community.

In some states, Republican-leaning interests have become the biggest backers of higher taxes for this purpose, which is seen as necessary for economic development.

While consumers are acutely conscious of prices at the pump, legislators are struggling to get around the difficult realities of the fuel surcharge that funds transportation projects. They are also facing the echoes of the tax cut promises they made in winning over many heartland states in the last decade — that getting tougher on spending wouldn’t mean worse services.

In most states, the excise tax rate per gallon is fixed and doesn’t rise with inflation. And the federal gas tax has remained unchanged since 1993. Meanwhile, consumers are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles or are driving less, depressing revenue. The real purchasing power of the federal gas tax has fallen by 40% over the past quarter-century, and repair costs rise significantly when roads decline to a rating of poor or worse.

This winter, Michigan’s Department of Transportation had to close 10 miles of Interstate 75 in suburban Detroit — one of the state’s most heavily trafficked stretches — because of vehicle damage from cracks and potholes.

View the full article here.

Howes: Michigan’s automakers compete for self-driving lead

March 22, 2019

The Detroit News

Daniel Howes

[…]

“Rooted in a century of design engineering and manufacturing expertise, Michigan is leading the automotive industry’s evolution from traditional manufacturer to the research, testing, and deployment of next-generation mobility technology,” says a report to be released Tuesday by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto unit.

“From key public-private partnerships to being nationally competitive in mobility-related patents, Michigan is the place for testing and deployment of connected, automated, and electric vehicles. Within the next 30 years, fully autonomous vehicles will be commonplace on roadways across the United States.”

Michigan is ranked No. 1 in connected vehicle projects funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Business annually funds $12 billion in automotive research and development across the state. Michigan-based auto plants last year assembled 17 percent of all the vehicles built in the United States. More than 500 miles of roadway are ready for testing connected vehicles.

The trends are likely to accelerate, quickly, as automakers and major suppliers amp spending on electrification. Over the next decade, says Jim Tobin, chief marketing officer of Magna International Inc., automakers and suppliers are expected to invest $300 billion on electrification, up from just $90 billion a year ago.

“There’s still a lot of unknowns,” he said in an interview in advance of MICHauto’s annual meeting Tuesday, adding that when the technology will “hit mainstream” in the U.S. market ranks among the biggest uncertainties. “The China market by far will be the biggest consumer of battery-electric vehicles near-term.”

View the full article here

Michigan’s heavy trucks catch flak for roads, but they are few and far between

March 17, 2019

Crain’s Detroit Business

Chad Livengood

[…]

Whitmer’s road funding proposal did not include any additional fees or fines for heavy commercial trucks, though the Democratic governor is open to discussing that issue with legislators.

“Heavy trucks are going to pay more in diesel … they’re going to pay a lot more,” Whitmer said after speaking at a Detroit Regional Chamber event last week. “But I do think that there’s some work we need to do in terms of weights and that’s something I’ve got to work with the Legislature to get done.”

The head of the Michigan Trucking Association said the industry is not fazed by the prospect of higher taxes, especially for interstate haulers because their diesel fuel taxes and registration fees are spread proportionately among states based on miles traveled.

View full article here

Report: Michigan doesn’t have money to fix deteriorating roads

March 12, 2019

Detroit Free Press

Kristi Tanner

[…]

The report, published by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based transportation group, examined legislation that will help increase state transportation funding from $2.2 billion in 2015 to almost $3.7 billion by 2023 and found that despite the increase, many crucial transportation projects remain unfunded.

Some of the TRIP report findings presented at the Detroit Regional Chamber on Tuesday include:

  • The total cost to motorists for driving on Michigan roads in poor conditions is about $14.1 billion each year when additional factors besides wear and tear are considered, like insurance, lost time and poor road design.
  • Among urban areas examined by TRIP, motorists in Detroit had the highest wear-and-tear costs, or vehicle operating costs, per driver at $824.
  • The percentage of federal-aid eligible roads and highways in Michigan with pavement in poor condition increased from 25 percent in 2006 to 40 percent in 2017, according to the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC).
  • Statewide, 11 percent of bridges were structurally deficient, meaning at least one of the major elements of the bridge was in poor condition or worse in 2017. Nationwide, that figure was 9 percent in the same year.
  • About 43 percent of bridges in Michigan, 4,815 structures, were built in 1969 or earlier.
  • Michigan’s traffic fatality rate of 1.01 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was below the national rate of 1.16 in 2017.

View the full article here

 

Study says poor roads cost Detroit area drivers $2544 a year

March 12, 2019

WXYZ Detroit

Kim Russell 

[…]

“When the system is not as maintained as it should be, they pay far greater costs,” said Rocky Moretti of Trip, the national transportation research group that did the study.

He gathered with the Oakland County Road Commission’s leaders and the Detroit Regional Chamber to share the results. He says in the Detroit area drivers are paying on average a whopping $2,544 because roads are in poor condition.

So – where did he get that number? He says researchers added up the cost of vehicle repairs and depreciation, of time lost to congested roads, and even of accidents caused by poor infrastructure.

“We want to drive on roads that are as safe as they can be. Unfortunately transportation leaders don’t have the resources to do that,” said Moratti.

“This is a very expensive problem now. The fact of the matter though is it is not going to get cheaper by not doing something now. It is only going to get more expensive,” said Brad Williams of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Williams says he has been lobbying state lawmakers to invest now, before roads get worse. He says too often they are patching potholes where they should be reconstructing roadways because the money simply isn’t there.

View the full article here

Democrats Picked Up Midwest Governor Seats by Vowing to Fix Schools, Potholes

November 7, 2018

The Wall Street Journal

By: Valerie Bauerlein & Kris Maher

Midwesterners elected gubernatorial candidates who promised to boost teacher pay in Wisconsin, fix potholes in Michigan and reverse deep budget cuts in Kansas. These issues, divorced from national politics, fueled Democratic victories across the region. The traditional political battleground helped hand the presidency to President Trump in 2016, but Tuesday’s election shows some of the states are still up for grabs. Governors are particularly powerful now as they increasingly take the lead on energy, health care and transportation policy.

“When you have gridlock in Washington, naturally people turn to the states,” said Jim Hodges, a former Democratic governor of South Carolina who now advises clients on working with governors. “More and more issues are being pushed to the state stage and to the local stage.” Still, political analysts cautioned against reading too much into the Democratic gubernatorial wins in the Midwest, known for its swing states.

Adding governors in the Midwest could help 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, who would be able to rely on governors’ fundraising networks and potential endorsements, analysts said. But three of the four Midwestern Democrats will be working with GOP-led legislatures, so it is unclear how much of their agendas they will be able to implement.

Blue Versus Red

Democrats picked up gubernatorial seats in the Midwest that were GOP-held for years. Democrats picked up a rare win in deep-red Kansas and reclaimed once reliably blue territory in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Republicans held on to governors’ seats in Ohio and Iowa. Overall, Democrats added seven governor seats on Tuesday, ending up with 23. Republicans have 26, with Georgia still too close to call. Republicans previously held 33 governorships, while Democrats had 16.

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, a former state Senate minority leader who won the governor’s seat in Michigan, ran economically focused ads and won back many blue-collar voters in places like Macomb County, part of the Detroit metro area, said Matt Grossmann, a political scientist at Michigan State University. “She ran the traditional hard-hat campaign where she was at factories with mostly blue-collar men talking about her background,” Mr. Grossmann said. “That’s a quintessential Michigan campaign.”

Voters said they favored Democrats because of state-specific issues such as expanding Medicaid and repairing infrastructure. They played down issues like immigration, which President Trump focused on before the election. Campaign pledges to restore civility also seemed to resonate among voters in a region that often prides itself on being genial. Marsha Luetjen, 72 years old, considers herself an independent and voted for Ms. Whitmer. “We have some of the worst roads in the country,” said Ms. Luetjen, of Brighton Township, Mich., a rural and mostly conservative area between Detroit and Lansing.

Ms. Luetjen said she hopes the new governor will fix roads and potentially lower the state’s income tax on pensions. “I think those are things that she can probably get done without a whole bunch of hoopla from both sides,” she said. The Detroit Regional Chamber endorsed a Democrat for the first time in a generation, choosing Ms. Whitmer over Republican state Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Chamber Chief Executive Sandy Baruah said he was optimistic that Ms. Whitmer’s leadership would lead to key investments in education and transportation, though he worried she might face significant pressure from her base “to do some things we’re going to have to push back against.” Ms. Whitmer said in a press conference Wednesday she was eager to fix roads, lower auto-insurance rates, improve the quality of drinking water and help underperforming schools. She said she planned to meet Wednesday with departing two-term Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

“The people of Michigan expect, want and deserve leaders who can work together to solve problems,” she said. “I think when you talk you can find common ground. But when you’re not talking, you don’t have any shot at it.” In Wisconsin, state schools superintendent Tony Evers narrowly defeated Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who was seeking a third term.

Mr. Evers said he was looking forward to working with the state’s two top Republican lawmakers on his campaign pledges of better schools, better roads and more affordable health care with protections for people with pre-existing conditions. “Knowing we may not fix all our problems with any single person or any election vote, the real work starts tomorrow,” he said Tuesday. “As I said throughout this campaign, it’s time for a change. The voters of Wisconsin spoke, and they agree.”

In Kansas, Laura Kelly, a Democratic state senator who touted her family’s military background, defeated Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Trump ally and strong backer of the administration’s immigration policies. Ms. Kelly campaigned on education and a shift from recent GOP governors’ policies of tax and spending cuts. In a victory speech Tuesday, Ms. Kelly said she would aim to work in a bipartisan way with state lawmakers, and that one of her first priorities would be funding schools.

“I will listen every day to leaders from both parties and to the people of this state,” she said. “We’ll take the best ideas no matter where they come from, and we’ll work together despite our political labels.” Looking ahead, some cautioned there is little correlation between midterm election results and a sitting president’s re-election chances. “The Midwest was historically the swing region, and it remains so,“ said Mr. Grossmann of Michigan State. ”They’ll be swing states from here on out.”

View the original article here

Pentastar Aviation Completes Certification for Gogo AVANCE L5 System

Pentastar Aviation, a leader in the world of business aviation, is at the forefront of meeting the connectivity needs of its clients by working with Gogo Business Aviation to complete the first Approved Model List (AML) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) ST04273CH for the Gogo AVANCETM L5 system. The STC issued on March 5, 2018, includes the Gulfstream G-IV, GV, GIV-X and GV-SP airframes.

Gogo AVANCE L5 connects aircraft to the Gogo Biz 4G network enabling a 4G experience and more robust in-flight internet capabilities such as streaming audio and video, email with large attachments, and faster web browsing. The new STC brings it all directly to business travelers using the onboard Wi-Fi network delivered by Gogo, the leader in in-flight connectivity.

“We were excited to work with Gogo on this STC, as our team remains focused on the future of in-flight connectivity,” said Jesse Beard, Pentastar Aviation’s Director of Engineering & Inside Sales. “Business travelers need 4G broadband connectivity to be truly productive during their travels, and Gogo’s system provides this for them.”

Gogo’s 4G service operates on its proven air-to-ground network comprised of more than 250 towers throughout the US and large portions of Canada and Alaska, and fiber backhaul and technology. Gogo’s technology on the plane also features dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi service for a faster, more consistent in-cabin experience. Designed with business aviation in mind, the company’s systems are currently flying on thousands of business aircraft, delivering proven and quality service to customers.

“Pentastar Aviation is a valued long-standing Gogo partner and we are very appreciative of the investment they have made in this AML STC for the new AVANCE L5 to benefit our mutual customers,” said Dave Salvador, vice president of aftermarket sales for Gogo Business Aviation.

The Pentastar avionics team delivers an unmatched combination of quality, technology, superior customer service, and meticulous attention to detail. This outstanding group of professionals has decades of experience providing industry-leading avionics system integration design, STC development, and service and maintenance on the most sophisticated avionics systems in the marketplace today.


About Pentastar Aviation
Pentastar Aviation, wholly owned by Edsel B. Ford II, is a leader in the world of business aviation, providing aircraft management, advisory services, aircraft maintenance, avionics services, interior services and award-winning FBO services. Air charter transportation services are provided by Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a U.S. FAR Part 135 on-demand air carrier, or by other U.S. FAR Part 135 certificated on-demand air carriers arranged by Pentastar Aviation, LLC. Their team is committed to delivering the highest standards of safety and service excellence to their customers.

Pentastar Aviation has been servicing regional and global travelers for more than 50 years and is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). For more information, please visit www.pentastaraviation.com.
About Gogo
Gogo is the in-flight internet company. They are the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation. Gogo designs and sources innovative network solutions that connect aircraft to the Internet, and develops software and platforms that enable customizable solutions for and by their aviation partners. Once connected, they provide industry-leading reliability around the world. Their mission is to help aviation go farther by making planes fly smarter, so their aviation partners perform better and passengers travel happier.
You can find Gogo’s products and services on thousands of aircraft operated by the leading global commercial airlines and thousands of private aircraft, including those of the largest fractional ownership operators. Gogo is headquartered in Chicago, Ill., with additional facilities in Broomfield, Colo., and locations across the globe. Connect with us at www.gogoair.com and www.business.gogoair.com.

 

 

Contact:
Tracy Neil
Pentastar Aviation
248-666-8200

Janette Sadik-Khan

Principal, Transportation, Bloomberg Associates

Janette Sadik-Khan is the principal transportation consultant for Bloomberg Associates. A leading voice on urban transportation policy, Sadik-Khan advises mayors around the world in developing street redesigns to help improve quality of life for citizens.Janette Sadik-Khan Detroit Policy Conference

Sadik-Khan previously served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. During her tenure, the city added nearly 400 miles of dedicated bike lanes and the first parking-protected bike paths in North America. She also launched the city’s first rapid bus lines and oversaw the redesign of streets and intersections that contributed to record-low traffic fatalities. As chair of the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO), she led the development and publication of NACTO’s Global and Urban Street Design Guides and the Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

Prior to joining Bloomberg Associates, Sadik-Khan served as a deputy administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation. She is the author of “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution.”

New Detroit Regional Chamber member!

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