What was once the Big Four is now the Fab Five. Leaders of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, the City of Detroit and now Washtenaw County gathered together to discuss a variety of issues from regional cooperation to job creation.
However, the main focus is whether the success of Michigan depends on the success of Detroit.
"Ann Arbor doesn't want to be Detroit. We want a strong Detroit so we keep those people here," said Conan Smith, chairman of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.
"I think everybody constantly talks about how important Detroit is to the State of Michigan. I think it's way beyond that. I think Detroit is important to this country," said Mayor Dave Bing.
"If Detroit goes into a receivership, if they go into an emergency financial manager, God forbid a Chapter 9, which is a bankruptcy, Brooks, you loose your AAA," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
Which means the cost of government goes up as taxpayers will pay an extra two to three million dollars a year in interest.
"All of the leaders on the stage just now and the overall theme of the conference this weekend recognizes that Detroit's success is at the core and center of the state's success," said Dennis Archer, Junior, president of Archer Corporate Services.
"Anywhere I go outside of the State of Michigan, when people ask me where I'm from, I'm telling them from Detroit, Michigan. They understand what it's all about," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "They are our urban center."
The other issue is which bridge should be built in Detroit. The leaders were united. It's the governor's bridge concept not that of the Maroun family, but the clock is ticking.
"If we dilly-dally around with this, it will eventually go through New York entering into the United States instead of Detroit, where it should go through. So, we should get this together," said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.
"It is a good opportunity for a business person that is in my district for him to be able to build a bridge that's going to help with employment and also be able to resolve a problem in terms of traffic," said Democratic Rep. Fred Durhal from Detroit.
"How do you get by Canada?" FOX 2's Charlie Langton asked him. "Canada doesn't want the Maroun bridge."
"I think that's (negotiable). This is a process," he replied.
Although the bridge issue is a pretty big one on Mackinac Island, there was a lighter moment by one member of the Fab Five.
"We're here in Mackinac and it just struck me. We come up with the Mighty 'Mac-comb' Bridge. Have it right at the end of M-59 over to Walpole Island. I think that's going to solve all the problems here. We can ... have three bridges right in a row, one in Saint Clair, one in Macomb and one over there in Wayne County," said Hackel.
"I've got to bring something home to my constituents," he added. "That's all I'm asking for is a bridge."
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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