Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroit Policy Conference > A One-on-One Discussion With David Coulter on Oakland County

A One-on-One Discussion With David Coulter on Oakland County

January 12, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Coulter would like to see a “phased approach” to mass regional transit.
  • Oakland County has supported businesses by providing needed products along with funding.
  • Coulter dismisses rumors of him running for Detroit mayor.

View the session recording below.

During the 2024 Detroit Policy Conference, Oakland County Executive David Coulter sat down with Dennis W. Archer Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sixteen42 Ventures, to talk about Oakland County’s present and future, as well as how the county works with its neighbors.  

Detroit Region vs. Everybody Instead of Each Other

After denying a rumored run for Detroit mayor, Coulter discussed the similarities between Oakland County and neighboring Macomb and Wayne counties. He stressed the need for collaboration, not competition.  

“I don’t consider them as competitors,” he said. “We’re competing against other regions … and [as the Detroit Region] we’re getting our butts kicked because we don’t have [enough] collaboration.” 

In Coulter’s eyes, the largest lack of collaboration continues to be about regional transit. When recalling his first time running for office, he mentioned that “one of my main points was we’re the only major metro that doesn’t have a major transit. And here we are, 20 years later, and we’re still talking about it.” 

“When you offer good transit systems, [residents] will get used to it,” he continued. “Instead of a large complex map of routes and large price tags, we need a phased approach.” 

Related: A One-on-One Conversation with Wayne County Executive Warren Evans

Leaning on Advanced Manufacturing and Community 

Additional conversation included how Oakland County “leans on” advanced manufacturing by providing products like 3-D printers, rather than just funding, to help businesses prosper. Further, the former mayor of Ferndale is also interested in building more thriving, walkable, accepting communities – like Ferndale – throughout Oakland County, starting in Pontiac.  

“When people move here or visit here, they don’t care about the artificial boundaries, and I don’t [either],” he said. “I hope we remember as a Region, we’re all in this together…and we need each other.”