Blog: Melissa Trustman

Melissa Trustman is the senior director of Government Relations at the Detroit Regional Chamber. Melissa manages transportation policy and monitors emerging issues that impact trade and infrastructure within Southeast Michigan.

Post No. 3

Hyper Regionalism

Regardless of geography, acting in concert with our neighbors just makes sense.

We’ve been beating the regionalism drum for years and years. Before we became the Detroit Regional Chamber, we were the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce. While there has been an improvement in the level of cooperation amongst the regional players, there is still some…ground to cover. Countless decisions affecting the health of our regional infrastructure are made at the local level. Dare I venture into the land consumption vs. population growth discussion…but our region likes to consume land. As an individual who strongly believes in free will, I say let the market decide. But I also believe in responsibility for your decisions…and the simple fact is that covering more land necessitates a greater infrastructure investment and maintenance cost.

Although we’ve all paid into that investment as a region, would everyone in the region be satisfied with their return on their investment?

Building the proper mobility network requires all of the counties and municipalities working together so we are happy with our investment. But that’s not the end of it. The network we build as a region needs to link to the bigger picture.

That is the next stage of regionalism.

The massive amount of trade going across the Detroit and Port Huron borders with Ontario demonstrates that we need an infrastructure that feeds and receives from the other side of the border. Further, that trade doesn’t end in Detroit or Windsor, it continues on through I-75, I-69, I-94, 401, 402, and the commercial rail network. This is obviously not a new thought process, the numerous trade corridor alliances have that figured out. Simply put, trade corridors are mutually interested regions collaborating to insure a highly functional infrastructure that facilitates a properly functioning economy with continual access to new opportunities.

Sounds like a good investment.