Lester Robinson, CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority, recently told state leaders from the Michigan House of Representatives Transportation Committee that the proposed Detroit Region Aerotropolis will offer unique development opportunities that should be supported statewide.
“The Aerotropolis does not compete with our core cities because its development focus is not the same,” he said, acknowledging opponents’ fears that if the legislature gives the project special consideration, development elsewhere in the state may be hindered.
“I understand that some communities worry that Michigan’s core cities and communities will be unable to compete with the Aerotropolis for new development,” he continued. “This assumption is false because what the Aerotropolis will attract are businesses that desire to operate next to a major, international, hub airport, which no other community in Michigan is ready to offer.”
The “airport city” concept was pioneered by John Kasarda, dean of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and professor of entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina. The idea suggests that as air travel has become the primary avenue of global trade, new urban cores could form around major international airports as they once did along river banks and later, roads and highways. The proposed Aerotropolis would be situated between Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW) and Willow Run (YIP).
Similar developments have found success in Europe and Asia, along with airport areas near Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; and Memphis, Tenn.
“If given the support by the State Legislature that it deserves, one can only begin to imagine the potential a Detroit Region Aerotropolis would have to fuel economic development across Michigan,” said Robinson.
See video of DTW CEO Lester Robinson talk about the importance of federal funding and the need for a multi-year Reauthorization Bill. Click Here!