Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
89.9-FM Classical WMUK is off the air due to a power outage. You can still listen at WMUK 102.1-FM HD-2 and through the live stream on our website and app

Whitmer pitches innovation prizes, incubator at Mackinac

Governor Gretchen Whitmer appears before a joint meeting of the House and Senate appropriations committees Wednesday, February 7, 2024. Whitmer says her Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal would boost education opportunities, finance more affordable homes and help draw people to live in Michigan.
Rick Pluta
/
Michigan Public Radio Network
Governor Gretchen Whitmer appears before a joint meeting of the House and Senate appropriations committees Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer pitched some of her big ideas Thursday to business, education and not-for-profit leaders at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference on Mackinac Island.

Whitmer said Michigan will offer a $100,000 dollar prize for the best idea to fix roads and improve mobility. "How will you help Michiganders get from point A to Point B safely, affordably, and efficiently," she said.

Whitmer told the conference it will be a public “shark tank” style competition judged by business experts.

“You need equipment, facilities, tools and expertise. Sometimes those fundamentals just cost too much or are completely inaccessible,” she said. “And while access doesn’t guarantee success, lack of access is a complete barrier.”

Whitmer said the attention from the competition could also help start-ups get attention from potential investors. Whitmer said she wants this to be an annual competition.

Whitmer also said she considers infrastructure funding unfinished business before wrapping up her second and final term.

“We still haven’t done a long-term infrastructure solution,” she said. “We haven’t, despite all the work you see happening, and that’s something that I remain committed to getting done. It doesn’t get easier or cheaper ... until we have a longer-term solution.”

Whitmer’s proposal in her first term to dramatically increase the gas tax by 45 cents per gallon failed to gain traction in the Legislature. She did raise money for some road repairs by selling bonds.

Tags
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.