The Michigan Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC) Strategic Fund Board approved the Act 7 inter-local agreement for the I-69 International Trade Corridor to become the state's largest Next Michigan Development Corporation (NMDC) today.

The I-69 NMDC covers four counties - Genesee, Lapeer, St.Clair and Shiawassee - 33 municipalities, major transportation assets such as Bishop International Airport, Canadian National and CSX railways, the Blue Water Bridge and a number of major highways along the corridor such as I-69, I-75, I-94 and U.S. 23.

According to Tim Herman, GEO of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce, today's announcement represents the culmination of a year-long effort to create a new economic growth opportunity to bring jobs to the region. "Today is a great day for the region," said Herman. "Not only was this one of the most sophisticated collaborative initiative spanning the four counties, it was by far the largest in the geographic scope and number of partners. This is a huge example of what can be accomplished when working together."

As an NMDC, the I-69 Corridor can now offer economic incentives to businesses that utilize multiple forms of transportation provided that they locate near major transportation facilities. The Corridor will benefit from marketing Bishop International Airport, major freeways, the Blue Water Bridge, CSX and Canadian National rails, as well as several water ports to business that are engaged in international multi-modal commerce. Businesses can benefit from state and local incentives, tax increment financial plans and real and personal property tax abatements, as long as they use at least two of the four designated transportation modes: air, freight, rail or water.

"This is not just great news for Genesee County, it is great news for all of the counties involved," said Jim Rice, director of Bishop International Airport. "We are much stronger as a group then we are individually. I look forward to the continued economic progress we can make in the region by acting as a team."

The Next Michigan development Act allows for up to five NMDC's in the state to be granted by the Michigan Strategic Fund in cooperation with the MEDC. There are now three designated regions including metro Detroit, Lansing and the I-69 Corridor.