COVID shutdown cuts crashes and road repairs, but more people die

COVID ROADS: Perhaps Michigan’s white-tailed deer population is one of the few winners of the pandemic. As traffic dropped during the COVID-19 shutdown, police reported fewer vehicle collisions with wildlife. People didn’t fare nearly as well. While fewer total car crashes were reported, they were deadlier as drivers drove faster and used their seatbelts less, state officials say. Also taking a road-related COVID-19 hit: tax revenues that finance road repairs.
Here’s a look at some of the consequences of the pandemic on Michigan’s highways. By Capital News Service. FOR ALL POINTS.

Export controls, U.S.-China trade relationship, affect Michigan technology goods

Michigan high-tech exports — which make up 1.1% of the U.S. total— may be subject to government controls partly due to international trade conflicts with the state’s third-biggest export market, China. Congress passed the Export Control Reform Act last year to regulate the transfer of specified technologies, information and services from the U.S., including artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, robotics, advanced computing technology and advanced surveillance technologies. A U-M economist and a Lansing trade lawyer explain. For business and news sections. By Mila Murray.

Driverless shuttles gain steam in Michigan

The greatest gripe about driverless buses? No music, according to a group of Michiganders who tested some. That’s good news for officials worried about the public’s more substantive concerns about getting on a bus without a driver. State officials are cautiously experimenting with driverless shuttles on university campuses and elsewhere. One promising opportunity is their use by people who are disabled. By Evan Jones.

Robotics manufacturing shows Michigan’s automation leadership

Economic development and manufacturing experts say Michigan’s deep roots in industrial innovation are leading to yet another industrial revolution. Robots, software and other automation technology are at its forefront, but a skilled workforce is needed to make it work. This could be the emerging bright spot of an economy built on the state’s automotive heritage. We talk to experts at Michigan Technological University, Northwestern Michigan College, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Tech, a robotics company and a Bay City lawmaker. By Evan Jones.

Michigan experts say businesses, farmers harmed in China trade wars


LANSING — The trade war between the world’s two largest economies has lasted for nearly one year and has already affected U.S industries and consumers, especially buyers and sellers of two items important in Michigan — soybeans and auto parts. Economists have long argued that tariffs come with real income losses. A newly published research article from the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a research network based in London, found that by the end of 2018, import tariffs were costing U.S. consumers and companies that import goods an extra $3 billion per month in added tax costs and an additional $1.4 billion per month in reduction in real income. “Everything affects everything, and everything is related to everything,” said Erkan Kocas, an international trade specialist at the Michigan State University International Business Center. Kocas said that an individual’s income and needs don’t change in spite of tariffs.