First meeting of 21st Century Infrastructure Commission conducted in Lansing last week

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The first meeting of the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission was held last Thursday to kick off efforts by Gov. Rick Snyder to identify long-term strategies to ensure Michigan's infrastructure is safe and efficient now and in the future.

The commission, announced by Snyder in his 2016 State of the State address and created under Executive Order 2016-5, is responsible for identifying strategic best practices to modernize the state's transportation, water and sewer, energy, and communications infrastructure.

The 27-member commission includes individuals with expertise in infrastructure design and planning, underground infrastructure, municipal planning, public utilities, water and sewer infrastructure, wastewater treatment and drainage, and communications and technology.

Snyder proposed $165 million be allocated to a newly created Michigan Infrastructure Fund as part of his Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The commission will help determine where these funds are needed most.

The commission is chaired by Evan Weiner, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Edw. C. Levy Co. Other members include:

- Janice Beecher, director of the Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University.

- Roger Blake, regional vice president of government and education solutions at AT&T.

- Bob Daddow, deputy county executive of Oakland County.

- Eric DeLong, deputy city manager for the City of Grand Rapids.

- Carl English, retired senior vice president of Consumers Energy.

- Joi Harris, vice president of gas operations for DTE Gas.

- Gavin Leach, vice president of finance and administration at Northern Michigan University.

- Mike Nystrom, executive vice president and secretary of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.

- Evan Pratt, drain commissioner for Washtenaw County.

- Doug Rothwell, president and chief executive officer of Business Leaders for Michigan.

- Brian Steglitz, vice president of the American Water Works Association.

- Helen Taylor, state director of the Nature Conservancy.

- Louis Taylor, engineering services manager for WadeTrim.

- Mike DeVries, vice president and operations manager at Transportation Business Line at AECOM.

- Ronald Brenke, executive director of the American Council of Engineering.

- Brian Mills, chief operating officer for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

- Beverly Watts, director of the Wayne County Department of Public Services.

- Kirk Steudle, director of the Department of Transportation.

- Keith Creagh, director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

- Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

- David Behen, director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

- Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

- William Moritz, director of the Department of Natural Resources.

- Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy.

- Sally Talberg, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Snyder also appointed an additional member to the commission last Thursday.

Ben LaCross, of Lake Leelanau, is owner of North Shore Orchards, and vice president of the Leelanau Horticulture Society. He also serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Farm Bureau and is a member of the Michigan Association of Cherry Producers. LaCross earned a bachelor's in business administration from Central Michigan University. He will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Sue Foune.

The commission was directed to present an infrastructure assessment and its recommendations to the governor by November 30, 2016.

Published: Mon, Apr 25, 2016

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