State should invest in EV jobs, drones and AI, says mobility council

Michigan has some work to do to stay a leader in the transportation industry. That’s the message from the state’s Council on Future Mobility and Electrification, which released its annual report along with a set of recommendations for the state this week.

The council was created by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 to provide annual recommendations “to ensure Michigan continues to be an epicenter of future transportation solutions around mobility and electrification.”

This year, the council came up with a list of 16 recommendations for the state, some of which would be funded through the state government, while others could be paid for with private money, according to the council’s recommendations.

“To remain the worldwide leader in mobility, Michigan must continue to reinvent public policies, invest in high-quality communities and infrastructure and continue deploying and testing mobility innovations,” said Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity in a statement released by the department. Corbin also serves as of the council.

Other members include representatives from Ford, GM, Toyota, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, among others. The 16 policy recommendations offered in the annual report are:

  • “Invest in bus rapid transit and spend $10 million to revive the state’s mobility challenges to solve for employment and equity barriers.
  • “Fund a public relations campaign to enhance MI’s sustainability leadership.
  • “Scale the Michigan EV Jobs Academy.
  • “Create a global center of excellence for responsible artificial intelligence.
  • “Expand Michigan’s Alternative Fuel Corridor opportunities for clean hydrogen and commission a study on hydrogen applications in commercial traffic.
  • “Develop accessibility standards for EV chargers.
  • “Create a state EV consumer incentive.
  • “Fund a $45 million bus electrification program.
  • “Expand use of sinking funds to support electric school bus deployments.
  • “Support Phase Two of the MDOT work zone safety pilot program.
  • “Design a clean fuels standard that works for Michigan.
  • “Invest $30 million into UAS [un-crewed aerial systems, such as drones] technology development.
  • “Pass legislation to preserve Michigan’s uniform, statewide automated vehicle policy.
  • “Keep up the annual support for state mobility agencies’ capacity.
  • “Pass legislation to create a mobility research and development talent tax credit.
  • “Continue advocating to federal policymakers on important connected vehicle issues.”

The full report, along with recommendations is available online here.