The Road to Improvement: Focus on Infrastructure Lays Groundwork for Lansing’s Future
The Lansing region has undergone a wide range of changes and improvements in the way we live, work and play. Entrepreneurship has been a key catalyst in the transformation. Entrepreneurship leads to job creation, an improved standard of living and a more prosperous community. In the Lansing region, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce continue to work together to create an environment for innovation and to help entrepreneurs and businesses connect, grow and thrive.
We have all the right tools to help entrepreneurs get started and businesses grow, but the Lansing region is not where we need to be in terms of our infrastructure. Having quality infrastructure is vital to creating a positive ecosystem that will retain future entrepreneurs, allow current businesses to thrive and attract new businesses to the region.
In 2018, we made significant breakthroughs for our region’s infrastructure through the efforts of the Capital Councils of Governments (CAPCOG), a regional partnership between the Clinton, Eaton and Ingham County boards of commissioners; the Lansing chamber; and Michigan State University, formed to advocate for improvement that benefits our region. There were three substantial infrastructure projects that will have a significant return on investment and improve our community:
- Coleman Road Extension: We secured $7.6 million to extend Coleman Road to ease traffic on Lake Lansing and State roads while creating new economic development opportunities and jobs.
- Heritage Hall (Michigan Capitol): We secured $40 million to add a new welcome center to the Michigan Capitol, serving as an educational resource for Michiganders and visitors.
- Two-way street conversion in downtown Lansing: We secured $3.3 million to convert downtown Lansing streets from one-way to two-way traffic flow.
More recently, CAPCOG adopted its 2019 priorities, outlining several key regional infrastructure projects to make the region more prosperous. One of those major regional infrastructure projects is the Interstate 496 and U.S. 127 interchange. CAPCOG is also focused on working with all three of the public transit bus systems to deliver better public transit services to residents and businesses.
Although these projects are great for the community, the Lansing region has been significantly underfunded, preventing the community from making the necessary improvements to our infrastructure. Over the next year, CAPCOG will be working with the Legislature to rework the funding formula that is administered by Michigan Department of Transportation to allocate more funding dollars for the Lansing region.
There is no doubt that Lansing is a great place to live and work. CAPCOG is working relentlessly to ensure our region has the funding and approval to make infrastructure improvements that will continue to cultivate an atmosphere for entrepreneurship.