Wayne County Executive Warren Evans will deliver the State of the County address Tuesday, saying it will highlight the next steps for regional transit, adding investment in county parks and developing thousands of acres surrounding the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Evans said for the past three years the county has largely focused on achieving financial stability and figuring out a plan for the unfinished county jail “albatross” in Greektown. Now the county is focusing on other areas that need attention, he said.
“What we’ve done over the last three years is try to recover,” Evans told The Detroit News. “We’ve had budget surpluses for years. We are managing much better. Our credit rating is higher." Evans is set to speak at the Detroit Film Theater in the Detroit Institute of Arts at 7 p.m. This will be his third State of the County address as county executive.
Evans said he plans to discuss how southeast Michigan can move forward with regional transit — an issue that has come to the forefront again since Metro Detroit leaders began meeting this year to discuss putting another millage on the November ballot.
While Evans and Mayor Mike Duggan agree that the region needs a mass transit system to thrive, Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel say they are not sold on the idea.
Lack of a regional transit system in Metro Detroit has been blamed by real estate developer Dan Gilbert and others as a major reason Detroit was passed up by Amazon recently for the location of the company’s second regional headquarters.
“We are very under-invested in transit,” Evans said. “And what we do invest in it, we don’t invest in a smart way.”
Evans was elected in November 2014 and formerly served as Wayne County sheriff and Detroit police chief. He announced in January he would seek re-election this year.