Hackel reflects on 2017, looks ahead at Macomb County's future

- An eyesore that caught the eye of the country-and had people in Fraser wondering how the massive sinkhole could erupt so suddenly costing some people their homes.   Infrastructure is an issue

"Now people realized it's not just about the above ground infrastructure it's beneath the surface that we've got to be concerned about," Hackel said.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel talking about the future of the county - a look ahead at 2018 means a deep and close look at infrastructure. Dollars need to come from the feds, and the state.  

"We're trying to figure out how do we work with those partners, trying to figure out how to get the biggest bang out of the bucks coming back our way. But people have got to realize, if we want a good infrastructure we have to figure out how to come up with the funding to pay for that," Hackel said.

Then there's regional transit - working with area counties to make sure people can get around.

"We can do something far better than just adding another system that's going to have different types or different looks of the buses. Let's figure out how do we consolidate the different types of services we already have, maybe administratively if we can, and that's where we're at with these discussions right now," he said.

Eventually Hackel says autonomous vehicles and supporting the infrastructure for that type of mobility is where the conversation should be. He points to the Macomb County Communications and Technology Center, or COMTEC, that's now being used by autonomous vehicle engineers to coordinate their technology with the Macomb County streets the cars will eventually be on. 
  
Another issue - the opioid crisis sends one person a day to the morgue in Macomb County alone. Hackel said they filed a lawsuit to figure out how to go after distributors and manufacturers over producing medications.

Selfridge Air Force base was recently one of five air bases the nation considered to land the F-35 fighter jet. Hackel says it didn't happen because politics that got in the way, but it still says something. 

"That's a statement and I think that was a generational statement - They are here to stay, the base and the workers out there," he said.

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