Both state and federal legislators are negotiating historic investments in the nation’s infrastructure and economy. These investments must include bolstering infrastructure to meet 21st-century transportation needs, transitioning vehicle fleets, and protecting our mobility workforce.
In Michigan, legislators are tasked with spending more than $11 billion available through the American Rescue Plan Act and excess general funds. American Rescue Plan funds must be used to reverse the negative economic and health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. We can think of no better use of these funds than to ensure cleaner air and prosperous jobs for years to come by investing in clean, advanced transportation technologies like alternative fuels and electric vehicles.
Michigan has billions of dollars to leverage at this moment that could set our state’s largest industry and our workers on a path toward future growth and prosperity. As the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification report says, if we miss this moment, we will fall further behind. We are urging state policymakers to take these recommendations seriously and take action now.
The signs are clear: the auto industry is changing fast. And, with over 20% of Michiganders employed in mobility, Michigan must think critically about how to protect and retrain workers as we march toward a zero emissions economy. Recent announcements about automaker investments in electric vehicle and battery assembly plants have caught the attention of the news, including positive stories like General Motors building the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center in Warren. And, stories that seem like Michigan is losing out, like Ford locating Blue Oval City, a project slated to employ 11,000 people to make electric vehicles, in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The writing is on the wall, clean vehicles are here to stay, and we must act fast to secure Michigan’s spot as a leader in the transition Right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to power up local economies, signal Michigan’s continued leadership in transportation, and safeguard thousands of jobs. The health and economic wellbeing of Michiganders depends on our legislators acting quickly to make a one-time, transformational investment in the future of mobility.