Patterson Announces I-75 Upgrades at State of the County Address

The Modernization of Interstate 75

Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, spoke for an hour Wednesday night delivering his 2016 State of the County speech to nearly 600 people in attendance at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac. Representatives from Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Oakland Township were there – mayors, city council members, state reps, supervisors, and others – among hundreds of elected officials and invited guests from Oakland County.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson at the 2016 State of the County Address - photo by Michael Dwyer

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson at the 2016 State of the County Address – photo by Michael Dwyer

“Adding a lane north and southbound on I-75 from Eight Mile to M-59 will have a significant impact on commerce and driver convenience,” Patterson said. “Companies along I-75, like Fiat Chrysler, that support I-75’s modernization, will see their employees in a safer commute; it will give companies along I-75 the ability to move goods more quickly through that corridor; and certainly improve the quality of life by easing some of the worst traffic congestion in our area.” Phase one of adding a lane to I-75 will begin this summer.

The widening of I-75 in Oakland County presents a tremendous opportunity for Patterson’s Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force too. MDOT is researching the possibility of making that stretch of I-75 a connected freeway, which means installing infrastructure that will communicate with automobiles.

“From the point of view of the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force, we are excited about the possibilities if I-75 were to become a connected freeway through our county,” Patterson said. “We know the auto companies and suppliers would utilize it as a test bed to advance their connected vehicle programs. And it would be happening right here in the heart of Oakland County.”

Low Unemployment and a Strong Economy

Oakland County’s economy has reached what economists call full employment, at or below 5.0 percent unemployment. With an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, Oakland County’s unemployment rate is better than the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

“The state of the Oakland County is strong! Amazingly strong. Vibrant,” Patterson said.

Patterson cited his administration’s economic diversification accomplishments as contributing to the robust economy. His economic initiatives have reached a total of about $7.8 billion in investment since the inceptions of key programs:

• Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors® initiative, which attracts companies in the knowledge-based economy, has seen 371 successful business attractions with a total investment of more than $3.3 billion creating 37,000 jobs and retaining 21,000, a total of 58,000 jobs.

• Since the launch of Emerging Sectors in 2004, Oakland County has also aggressively pursued traditional companies representing 243 traditional successes for a total investment of over $2.3 billion creating 13,700 jobs and retaining over 19,200 jobs, a total of 33,100 jobs.

• In the first four years of the recovery from the Great Recession, Oakland County gained back over 79,000 jobs, most of which are in the medium to high-wage category. University of Michigan economists Dr. George Fulton and Donald Grimes conservatively forecasted an additional 49,000 jobs through the end of 2017.

• The Oakland County Economic Development Corporation and the Oakland County Business Finance Corporation which has helped finance 648 small businesses over 35 years for a total investment of $1.5 billion creating over 26,500 jobs.

• Main Street Oakland County, the first countywide Main Street program in North America serving Oakland County’s 32 downtowns has seen 940 businesses invest $668 million creating 7,000 jobs since inception in 2000.

With a budget balanced through 2021 and a AAA bond rating retained since 1998, Oakland County has transitioned to investing for sustainability.

Rochester Hills Mayor, Bryan Barnett, mingles at the afterglow of the 2016 State of the County Address - photo by Michael Dwyer

Rochester Hills Mayor, Bryan Barnett, mingles at the afterglow of the 2016 State of the County Address – photo by Michael Dwyer

Parental Paid Time Off

Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix offers parental paid time off, so can Oakland County.

To attract new employees and improve the government campus, investments will include six weeks of paid parental leave for new mothers and fathers who work for the county. “I will propose that Oakland County move forward with a program that offers paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers. The final design of the plan will be determined in partnership with the Board of Commissioners. The goal will be to provide six weeks of paid leave for both parents. For birth mothers, the leave will be in addition to any maternity disability benefits currently provided,” Patterson said.

“Paid parental leave is a benefit current and future employees look for. It is a benefit for a new parent that provides a real advantage to families. It is a benefit that can significantly increase the personal and economic well-being of families,” Patterson said, “I think with age I’ve turned into a … liberal,” he added in a joking way.

L. Brooks Patterson and his 9-year-old granddaughter Ella at the State of the County Afterglow at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac - photo by Michael Dwyer

L. Brooks Patterson and his 9-year-old granddaughter Ella at the State of the County Afterglow at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac – photo by Michael Dwyer

Vote Patterson

Patterson also spoke about the Zika Virus, ECHO (Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland), Michigan’s first Air Transportation Expo, and more. In addition, Patterson said, “I love my job,” as he announced his plans to run for re-election later this year. Afterwards, guests enjoyed complimentary food, drink, and conversation. A YouTube video is available to hear and see the entire address. However, much of the beginning of the video is just people milling around since it was recorded live at the event. Skip forward to just past 38 minutes in to catch the true start of the 2016 State of the County address with County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

Patterson to Run for Re-election - photo by Michael Dwyer

Patterson to Run for Re-election – photo by Michael Dwyer

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at [email protected].

Comments

  1. Instead of an extra lane, how about at elevated rail going right down the middle of I-75 – from downtown to the Palace in Auburn Hills?

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