MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) – Should Southeast Michigan be marketed as a single brand? That was the question before the “Fab Five” area leaders Thursday at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he thinks Detroit has cornered the entertainment market.

“You’ve got the Tigers, you’ve got the Lions, you’ve got the Red Wings, maybe the Pistons come downtown … ” said Bing — that comment brought some input from Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Paterson.

“I want the Lions back!” Patterson said, with a laugh.

Also on the table was the ever-present topic of mass transit in the region.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said it’s up to Lansing to make the first move.

“I think it’s important. It makes us competitive with other regions throughout the country for some of these resources.  It’s something that’s sorely been missing and has been talked about for many, many years,” he said.

But until we put an authority (Regional Transit Authority) in place  — we need the legislature to get moving on that — the question is the governance model and how it’s going to be paid for,” Hackel said. “I think we need to get the authority together to start hammering that issue out to make that determination.”

He pointed to the success of an authority set up to manage Detroit’s Cobo Center expansion as an example of how it can work.

Also on the panel were Conan Smith, chairman of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.

– Get complete conference coverage at this link –


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