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Posted on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Top 6: Issues for Michigan from Rick Snyder's State of the State address

By Ryan J. Stanton

Gov. Rick Snyder characterized 2011 as the year Michigan buckled down, attacked legacy problems and began the process of reinventing itself.

He credited the state Legislature for helping to pass 323 new laws and rescind nearly 400 burdensome regulations, but he said more remains to be done.

"2012 is about finishing that work — the work left over from 2011," Snyder said in his second State of the State address Wednesday night in Lansing.


Rick Snyder addresses lawmakers tonight during his second annual State of the State address in Lansing.

Angela Cesere |

Snyder said 2012 will be different than last year, which focused on dramatic policy changes.

In no particular order, here's a look at six highlights of the agenda he laid out for 2012:

1. Public transit. Snyder stressed the need to address regional transit in Southeast Michigan, including adding bus rapid transit services. "Another persistent problem that we face is a lack of a truly regional transit system for Southeast Michigan," Snyder told lawmakers. "We are working in partnership with the city of Detroit, with the four surrounding counties, and the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a new bus rapid transit system — a BRT — to service the entire region. It's 40 years overdue. I encourage your support."

2. New International Trade Crossing. Snyder said building a second bridge to Canada from Detroit is not a bridge issue, but a jobs issue. He stressed the project will be done without any Michigan taxpayer dollars and indicated he's still looking for support from lawmakers. He said the state shouldn't let special interests stop an opportunity for job creation.

3. Transportation and infrastructure. Snyder said he'll ask the Legislature to hold hearings on bills that will give Michigan a transportation system for the 21st century. He reiterated his message that Michigan is underinvesting in roads by $1.4 billion annually and said no one is satisfied with the state's roads. "Let's solve this problem now," he said. "The state cannot afford to neglect the health of its physical infrastructure," Snyder added later, promising the introduction of a bipartisan package of bills soon to create a new system of roads and bridges for a 21st century economy. He criticized the state's road funding formula.

4. Public safety. Snyder told lawmakers to expect him to deliver a special message on public safety in March. While statewide crime is down, he said it's unacceptable that Saginaw, Flint, Detroit and Pontiac are among the nation's Top 10 in violent crime. "In 2012, we're going to focus on this and resolve this issue," Snyder said.

5. Education reform. Snyder said the state completed much of its education reform package in 2011, but a college readiness rate of just 17 percent is unacceptable. He called on the Legislature to support legislation for an educational achievement authority, an initiative to turn around the state's poorest performing schools. He said the goal is to have the authority educating children by this September. "Our children are our future and we need to make sure they're not just college ready, but career ready," he said, later adding this: "We need to make sure we're raising the performance bar on all schools."

6. Energy and environment. Snyder said he'll deliver a special message on energy and the environment this fall. "We need to be more strategic by focusing on the intersection of job creation, affordability, science and sustainability," he said. He said Michigan must continue its leadership in protecting the Great Lakes, "one of the world's greatest natural assets."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Ron Granger

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

He'd force us to fund building a bridge to China if he could.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Snyder's answer to everything is China. He traveled to China last year and called for more direct investment in Michigan by China (read that as China should buy more American companies). Snyder's company, Neophotonics was a California company until he merged it with a Chinese company four times its size and owned partly by the Chinese government. Another of his companies, Discera, was built on an inventions by a UM professor and Snyder has exported it to China (probably without an export license). That technology has important military applications in missile guidance systems. Can I sell you a bridge? That is his latest pitch to China. The company building the freeway to the new international bridge on the Canadian side is Hutchinson Wampoa, a Chinese construction company and when Snyder was asked if he would mind if China built and operated the bridge, he said that would be fine with him. With so much of his wealth invested in China, when he returns to China later this year, will Snyder represent Michigan's interests or will he represent China's. Read more at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

If unemployment is down so much why can't a person get through to take care of his claim? Been trying to get through to them since January 3 to straighten out claim and continually get get the messages , all operators are currently busy please try later, or right at qutting time our office is currently closed please try during regular business hours. It doesn't put you on hold it justs hangs up.No wonder they claim unemployment is down if you can't get into the system.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

Snyder's speech was simplistic, contained few actual specifics, and was poorly delivered. Snyder's not the best orator, but someone in his cabinet should help him. After the speech I felt as if Michigan were a paradise and that I should go around thanking each and every person (as that speech did). I want to believe (so badly) that Synder will turn Michigan around (I'm still very hopeful), but vagueness and a whole lot of thanking doesn't impress me or give me a sense of Michigan's direction. Also, his stats of 17 percent college readiness are misleading. If you're interested in stats and what they tell us, this makes interesting possible explanations to the 17 percent stat, check out this article: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

From the link provided Critics say Snyder's use of the figure is "misleading." A review by the Center for Michigan found that Snyder's use of the 16 percent figure is technically accurate. However, the debate is far from resolved over whether the ACT figures fairly reflect the college 'readiness' of high-schoolers. It may not &quot;fairly reflect the college 'readiness'&quot; but it is the system in place that the educated snobs have had used for a long time. And you can't blame Snyder for that! It like blaming him for using the term miles when some would say we would be better off using kilometers!


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

PS: These addresses would be much easier to watch, and listen to, if we coud knock off all of the nauseating, patronizing, applause &amp; phony standing ovations. Just sayin' . . .


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Yes, I think Snyder invented these, and they have never been used by any other person in office, including Granholm and Obama. Puleeese.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

Lots of good, overdue stuff for Michigan. What's unfortunate is the disparately cold manner in which those who can least afford it are forced to cough up a majority percentage of the extra revenues to make all of this occur. When the average non-business owning citizens, who comprise the majority of us, pony up our much larger state income tax payments for 2012, the unethical nature of some of our governor's &quot;tough decisions&quot; will come home to roost . . .


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Snyder has brought back some well needed sanity to the Michigan governor's office. He's a mature professional in every respect. And now, if we can get that back into the White House (Romney) and get rid of the ultra partisan punk, this nation will start progressing.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:14 a.m.

The Transportation system should connect the poorest counties like Alpena, Alcona, Iosco to where there are jobs washtenaw, wayne, oakland, monroe.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:10 a.m.

The rail system should connect the poorest counties like Alpena, Alcona, to where there are jobs washtenaw, wayne, oakland, monroe.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:01 a.m.

great governor and administration, we have a budget surplus, decrease in unemployment, brought back alcohol infused whip creme, that is made in Michigan after the canadian we called governor banned it.

Yeah buddy

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:54 a.m.

All 6 of the plans listed above are things that liberals generally support. It will be interesting to see how the &quot;recall&quot; shills spin these proposals as class warfare. Keep spouting your ill-informed 19% approval rating.

Ron Granger

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

How will building a bridge create jobs? Does he just mean the construction jobs that may be done by those out of state, or even out of country?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Directly by increasing construction jobs and indirectly by reducing the time it takes trucks to cross the border. This would increase the general economic activity near the border and the routes trucks would take. Distributions centers would be built to take advantage of the faster crossing, benefiting both Canada and U.S.

Yeah buddy

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

It will create construction and manufacturing jobs in small quantities in the short run. The idea is that with increased trade between the US and Canada more jobs will be created in a variety of industries long term. Obviously there is no reliable estimate on job growth long term.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:40 a.m.

&quot;How will building a bridge create jobs?&quot; At least as well as Obama's give away plans!


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:07 a.m.

A 19% approval rating and no bipartisan support on anything to-date. That's what Snyder has accomplished in one year. Hopefully a new recall attempt will be successful and several Federal legal challenges pending will reverse some of his more radical and divisive laws. Of course his supporters will ridicule the failure of a prior recall attempt, but the fact that over half a million people signed it ought to give pause to them, as the gap between that and the successful level is not that great and organizers will continue with a new attempt beginning in May. Given the sharp slide in the Gov's approval ratings since then, hopefully it will be an easier successful process.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

Sour grapes Sparty. Go on strike and cost yourself your own job.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:37 a.m.

Sparty &quot;Hopefully a new recall attempt will be successful&quot; I'll give you this at least you have hope. &quot;Given the sharp slide in the Gov's approval ratings since then, hopefully it will be an easier successful process&quot; Hope in one hand and spit in the other see which one fills up fastest!


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:02 a.m.

So, no tax has been collected so far on my pension and there is already a surplus? The monies to be collected by Lansing on my pension income were not part of any household &quot;surplus&quot; , These monies were to be used for travel, hotels, gas, furniture, clothes, etc. Oh yes, all taxed at 6% or more. I am confident that Lansing is much better equipped to decide how to spend my money as part of their surplus.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

I consider myself an Independent. I applaud Gov Snyder on doing what he thinks is the right thing and not the expedient thing. I may not agree with everything he has done or is proposing but I am very thankful we don't have a far right or a far left Governor. We actually have a functioning government. My observation is that he is a centrist which I believe most people are, even if they do not participate in forums. I suppose my clear frustration is with the opposition to the new bridge to Canada by the procedural maneuvering of the legislature. I've yet to hear ONE real issue other than certain politicians being in Manny's pocket. I wish the Governor would really call these politicians out.

Kai Petainen

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

i don't agree nor disagree with all of his policies.... but i thought it was a nice speech.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Now all we need is a few billion dollars of money to make it happen. This is a tough agenda to make happen. I wish him luck in 2012. I hope the everyone can get on board with this agenda, republican, democrat, independent and all.

Linda Peck

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

I agree on all these points. We do need these fundamental and basic questions addressed, absolutely. This stands in the face of the frittery that has been going on in our town of late. Thank you, Governor.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

The reason I voted for Snyder is because he seemed to be the closest thing to a moderate. He has (for the most part) taken the best parts of liberalism and conservatism, and gotten rid of the petty nonsense that pervades both parties. Relentless positive action! Here's to a great 2012 in Michigan.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

One year in and the big ship is charting a course for calmer waters. Budget surplus, lowering unemployment from the time he assumed the job. He is making the tough decisions that need to be made. So far...I like what I see. Beats eight years of Granholm.