Township supports an Aerotropolis along I-69 corridor

FLINT TWP. — Will an Aerotropolis fly here?

The Board of Trustees gave preliminary support at its meeting last week to the concept of creating a tax-exempt business corridor along the I- 69 freeway with Bishop International Airport as its hub.

Proposed Aerotropolis boundaries would border the I-69 freeway from the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron to the western edge of Shiawassee county, affecting municipalities flanking the freeway, said Karyn Miller, township supervisor.

Bishop Airport, the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce and numerous regional partners along the I- 69 Corridor were preparing to submit a Notice of Intent to the State of Michigan by March 31 to seek a Next Michigan Development Corporation (NMDC), aka Aerotropolis designation, according to a statement from Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development, Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Notice of Intent is a first step in the NMDC application process.

“Michigan legislation has created an “Aerotropolis” (NMDC) program which allows the State of Michigan to designate up to five regional areas with the authority to grant tax incentives and conduct marketing initiatives,’’ she said.

“The primary objective of this program is to create jobs and investment opportunities in the distribution/logistics sector, which includes manufacturing and office operations that rely on supply chain and freight support — via air, rail, and freeway.

The I-69 Corridor is a significant region for freight movement with some of the nation’s highest volumes of truck and rail border crossings to and from Canada. Bishop International Airport offers expanded air freight capacity and is positioned to support future freight growth.”

Partners in this effort include the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Lapeer Development Corporation, and the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Karcher said. Local municipalities have been invited to indicate their interest and support for this initiative.

“We will coordinate with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to determine next steps in the application process.,” Karcher said.

Flint Township officials attended a meeting last week where details about the Aerotropolis were laid out and support solicited. Tracey Tucker, deputy treasurer, said the board’s supportive vote does not bind the township to any future developments.

Miller said affected communities bordering the interstate would have to consent to any further developments.

“We have property bordering I-69,’’ she said. “If we offer tax-exemptions that means we get fewer taxes. It is an exploratory discussion at this point.”

Similar efforts are underway targeting airports in Wayne and Washtenaw counties.

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