LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — In his State of the State speech Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made announcements not directly related to the Flint water crisis. He:
— Continued pushing lawmakers to pass bills to overhaul Detroit’s troubled school district by splitting it in two, spending more than $700 million over a decade, warning of a potential bankruptcy.
— Announced that he will appoint a commission on 21st century education to identify how to improve governance, funding systems and career and college readiness.
— Announced that he will convene a commission to study and make recommendations about Michigan’s infrastructure needs, threats, opportunities and costs. Priorities will include water and sewer infrastructure, energy and electrical grids, broadband modernization and upgrading the aging Soo Locks.
— Said he will issue an executive order instructing the Michigan Department of Transportation to confer with local officials and utilities every time a new road project is undertaken, saying it is the best time to assess if underground infrastructure should be replaced.
— Asked legislators to consider requiring local governments to also communicate with utilities before local road projects begin.
— Highlighted the importance of Michigan keeping pace with the move toward autonomous and connected vehicles, saying previous initiatives have not been good enough. He wants to create the American Center for Mobility at General Motors’ former Willow Run plant to be “the world’s best place to test intelligent vehicles.” He hopes to partner with the federal government.
— Committed to work with Congress on allocating money to build an additional shipping lock on the river that connects Lakes Huron and Superior. Only one of the four Soo Locks is large enough to handle the ships that carry 70 percent of cargo moving through the locks.