"Automakers don't talk just about building great cars and trucks anymore.
They increasingly see themselves as "mobility" providers, a broad industry that includes car-sharing services such as Zipcar, taxi alternatives such as Uber and Lyft, self-driving cars and mass transit.
A new study by the Michigan Economic Center details a potential $250 billion transportation market driven by "sweeping changes in demographics, lifestyle preferences, technological advances, new ownership models and global environmental challenges."
MICHAuto, a unit of the Detroit Regional Chamber, is heavily promoting Michigan as the "global center of mobility," in which all forms of transportation will be connected though smart phones and other digital technologies.
State and federal governments have a critical role by establishing a legal framework for connected and autonomous vehicles and developing the talent companies will need to produce them, Snyder said.
That might be Michigan's biggest weakness.
We are cursed with a Legislature that can't even adequately fund our roads, let alone deal with the complexities of new mobility systems. Many of the Republicans who control the House and Senate don't seem concerned that Apple, Google and other Silicon Valley companies want to steal our automotive future. (...)
Meanwhile, our lawmakers are fixated on restricting abortion, allowing guns everywhere and a host of other social issues that do nothing to enhance Michigan's economy or make the state more attractive to new talent.
Some of their apathy toward embracing mobility involves hostility toward urbanization and mass transit, two factors driving the development of new mobility technologies.
Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford, on a trip to Silicon Valley, recently told USA Today that his company's success in the mobility world will require "partnerships with tech companies, startups, government, everyone."
Michigan's state government seems intent on letting our roads turn to gravel. What kind of a partner will it be?"