Federal grant to boost manufacturing collaboration

Capital News Service
LANSING – Manufacturing organizations are partnering after receiving a $2.19 million federal grant through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. According to the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA), the grant will fund the Southeast Michigan Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Realization Cluster project—known as “the Cluster”—and connect manufacturers across the state to form a fast-growing community of firms.
Participants include the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance in Taylor, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, the Workforce Intelligence Network in Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth. SEMCA will act as the fiscal agent for key elements of the grant, and each participating organization will have responsibility over a portion of the funds, with the common goal of “connecting manufacturing firms and helping them support lower-volume, rapid-production, highly custom projects,” according to SEMCA. Data from the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that manufacturers account for nearly 16 percent of the state’s total gross state product and employ about 12.3 percent of the workforce. According to the participating organizations, forming the Cluster will allow smaller, traditional manufacturers to pool resources.

Open conservancies or pay tax, Casperson says

Capital News Service
LANSING — Nonprofit organizations that safeguard land and habitat in Southeast Michigan are worried about a proposal that could tax their preserves. A proposal by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, would require land conservancies to pay property taxes if they restrict access to the public, including access for motorized and non-motorized vehicles. In the draft bill, motorized recreational activities could be limited to designated trails, however. The idea creates concern among people who are responsible for managing land conservancies. Leo Dorr, the treasurer of the Lapeer Land Conservancy, said he is worried about negative effects on the work, conservation and ecology of his organization and properties.

Southeast Michigan Transit Authority proposed — for the 24th time

Capital News Service
LANSING – Legislators are working to create an authority to oversee the development and operation of public transit in four Southeast Michigan counties. The legislation by Rep. Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak, would create the Southeast Michigan Transit Authority. The authority would oversee all mass transit service in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb and Washtenaw counties, including Detroit. Townsend said that the goal is to unite Southeast Michigan and improve the economy in the process. “It is one regional economy,” Townsend said.