Michigan is making a comeback - and the Upper Peninsula is a big part of that resurgence.
That's the message Gov. Rick Snyder had for the area during his visit earlier this week.
Fielding questions Wednesday from young professionals and entrepreneurs, Snyder told a Marquette crowd that Michigan was on the comeback trail.
Snyder said the state is willing to continue to invest in the U.P. - putting long-term resources into infrastructure like roads and bridges, working to decrease underemployment among young people and bolstering the state's educational system. All of these initiatives should be positive developments for our area.
Snyder said Michigan needs to spend a billion dollars a year on our state's roads to bring them up to an acceptable standard to head off a $25 billion bill in another 10 years. With a lot of roads in proportion to our area's population, the region should benefit from this plan.
Snyder also seemed committed to investing in tourism, state-owned land and one of his pet projects - a trail system from Belle Isle to Ironwood - all of which could be boons for the region.
Snyder said he is directing state agencies, including the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Transportation, to collaborate on creating more trail connections. On Monday, Snyder attended the dedication in Ironwood for the western gateway to the cross-the-state trail. Tuesday saw him cut the ribbon on a newly completed segment of Marquette County's Iron Ore Heritage Trail, which he's pledged to help promote and showcase as part of his drive to make Michigan "the trail state."
'We are going to make the old unbelievable, the new achievable.' That's the Michigan of the future." Snyder said Tuesday. "That's the Michigan we're making now. And you should be proud to be on the front end of that."
We're under no illusions that a state and regional economic resurgence will be easy - but it seems clear we have a strong ally as we make our way down the comeback trail.