MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. IFOX 2) - On day two of the annual policy conference on Mackinac Island and some big announcements came state leaders.
Most notable from today's events, was a special visitor to the conference at the Grand Hotel: US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. He was on the island talking about infrastructure and the fact that Michigan received about $3 billion federally to help fix the roads, bridges and for electric vehicle charging stations.
"This is a perfect place to talk about what it means to drive economic growth and opportunity through good infrastructure investment," Buttigieg said. "And let me tell you, for anybody who might mistakenly be thinking, 'Why did we do all this as a state if the federal government was going to pass infrastructure legislation?' Let me make very clear - states whose governors and state transportation boards have been already running hard on infrastructure, are the ones that will be best positioned to take advantage of the federal dollars that are now coming your way. And that's exactly the direction that the governor has led Michigan into."
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist spoke about the importance of Buttigieg's appearance at the conference.
"It's really important because Michigan has defined mobility for you know, 100 years," Gilchrist said. "And to have the person who's charged with the infrastructure investments on transportation and mobility - to have him here - and to hear from all the stakeholders that at this conference, is really important for how we're going to go forward."
FOX 2: "Can Michigan get more money from the feds?"
"That's exactly what I talked to him about about 30 minutes ago," he said. "(We were) talking about how much Michigan can be well positioned to compete for all the competitive dollars. And what he let me know ... is that the state of Michigan was well positioned. We have a good history of pulling down these dollars in the federal government, the jobs they create, and the infrastructure that it creates, it's going to make a difference. And so we're excited to have Michigan be a leader in that."
Governor Gretchen Whitmer also signed an executive directive she called it, to speed up the permit process. So when MDOT gets to build a road, (the state) can hopefully speed up the bureaucracy part of it. A direct result will be speeding up the construction of bridges and roads.
US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at the Mackinac Policy Conference.