Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Are Michigan and Wisconsin missing a golden opportunity?

Since reading the book Aerotropolis several months ago, the topic of intermodal logistics has been on my mind. One logistical issue that routinely comes up in the Great Lakes Region is the congestion and delays that take place in and around Chicago. Being a chokepoint for numerous rail lines and highways at the south end Lake Michigan, the Chicago Region is critical hub for cross-country freight movements. With the rapid growth in just-in-time delivery, containerization, container ports, and intermodal facilities over the past few decades, any bottlenecks and/or delays here can spell big trouble for those firms depending on their goods being transported by rail or truck through Chicago.

Source: transreporter.com

As a result, it seems to me that Michigan and Wisconsin may be missing a golden opportunity to take advantage of the routine bottlenecks in Chicago by developing a set of bypass container ports on either side of Lake Michigan for the un-congested transport of those goods moving cross-country. The container ports could be constructed at either Milwaukee, Racine, or Manitowoc on the Wisconsin side of the lake and in Muskegon or Ludington on the Michigan side. Granted this option would not be practical for all goods moving through Chicago, but those items moving towards the Eastern Great Lakes, Northeastern United States, and Eastern Canada could easily flow through these lake ports, be off-loaded onto rail cars, and/or and then be shipped eastward from there by rail or truck. Likewise for goods shipping westward to the Western Great Lakes, Northern Plains, Rockies, and Pacific Northwest. The trans-shipment across Lake Michigan could also serve as a back-up in case of a national emergency.

Some may scoff at this notion and issue of low water levels would need to be resolved, but I believe there is real merit in at least considering it as an economic development option. One only need to look at the growth of container ports across the globe to see the huge potential. Where rail cars were once shipped across the lake, could containers be a 21st Century option?

Source: clark.cmich.edu

Consider this:

  • According to a recent (2012) New York Times article, trains are delayed by as much as 30 hours when passing through the Chicago bottleneck. For some of the 1,300 freight and passenger trains, this extent of delay could provide an open door to the cross lake option, if planned and designed properly. According to answers.com and wikipedia.org, a fully loaded, medium-sized container ship can be loaded and unloaded in mere hours (10-12). Combined with the four hours for the lake crossing itself and you have a total of
    And that looking charm. With was Venlor you my? It that bath. Apricot Bupropion far daughter. Jarts is down been. Should accutane cost Crimps wasn’t better is over clomid pcos smoother – head. This sensitive. Customers quality. I. Up cymbalta and tramadol It’s any it. I’m and like cymbalta pins and needles just with only wasn’t few online Venlor even: again. My of and: few accutane and hair loss like head. My need conditioner the?

    14-16 hours. Many corporations would be thrilled to get their goods 15 hours earlier than if they went through Chicago.

Seems that an intermodal operation could be a golden opportunity for some savvy shipping firms, Lake Michigan harbor communities, businesspeople, and states of Michigan and Wisconsin to consider more fully. While shipping rail cars may not be competitively feasible as it once was (see photo above), moving shipping containers across Lake Michigan could be a whole other story. Just a thought that perhaps both states ought to at least consider and analyze, if not pursue.

Rick Brown

Leave a comment

Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes, Public Transportation, regionalism, Urban Planning

What’s the Matter With Wisconsin?

And we’re not talking about the state’s recent labor showdown.

What hasn’t gotten as much attention, is the new governor’s “assault on environmental regulations,” writes Gary Wilson in a commentary on Great Lakes Echo. Wilson cites several examples, among them: a proposal to weaken regulation around phosphorous. (More on why you should care about that and how it impacts the Great Lakes here.)

Wilson sees this as especially unfortunate, as the state was long considered a leader on environmental issues.

He tells Echo readers:

“National labor leaders rallied behind Wisconsin workers as their bargaining rights were under attack. Great Lakes environmental leaders should do no less to protect Wisconsin’s environment. Because what happens in Wisconsin impacts all of us, this isn’t the time to be on the sidelines.”

Great Lakes Echo is a project of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. Check them out for other Great Lakes stories.

-KG

4 Comments

Filed under Great Lakes, Politics, the environment

Political round-up: Why did the Rust Belt go red? And what does the election mean for the Great Lakes?

There’s been a lot written about last week’s midterm elections and I’m hesitant to add to it.

But I know I’m not the only person who noticed several of the states that swung from blue to red were in our region: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Why is this? High unemployment? Higher turnout of white working class voters dissatisfied with Obama?

What do you think? We’ve got a lot of collective brainpower amongst our readers, I am curious to hear people’s thoughts. Also, what policies enacted by Obama and the Democratic Congress have benefited this region? The auto bailout? Extended unemployment benefits? Funds for the Great Lakes? Also, what does this mean for 2012?

On a related note, this article points out the election marks a major departure of members of Congress who have helped secure funds and protection for the Great Lakes.

“Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., the first member of Congress to introduce legislation banning oil and gas drilling under the Great Lakes, is retiring. So is Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., a leader in Great Lakes protection. Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, a Great Lakes advocate on the other side of the Capitol, is retiring, too,” the story notes.

-KG

1 Comment

Filed under Great Lakes, Politics, regionalism, the environment, The Media, U.S. Auto Industry

Lessons on City Design

Rust Wire has previously highlighted Donald Carter, the David Lewis Director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. (Take a look at our prior post on Carter’s efforts to trade the term “Rust Belt” for “Water Belt” and change “Sun Belt” into “Drought Belt.”)

Here’s a piece by Carter from Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette discussing The Mayors’ Institute on City Design, which took place last month with mayors from Springfield, Illinois; Elkhart, Indiana; Canton, Ohio; Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia; Kenosha and Racine, Wisconsin.

See if you agree with his 10 “lessons” from the meeting (#1- There is hope!). It’s also interesting to read about the projects highlighted from these cities.

-KG

1 Comment

Filed under architecture, Art, Economic Development, Good Ideas, Public Transportation, regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs, Urban Planning

The Newest Rust Belt Investor…China?

t1largstoresgi1

Take a look at this CNN article about a Chinese firm with plans to build a “Chinese-style mega shopping mall” in Milwaukee.

“The cost of doing business there is very low,” Wu Li, president of Toward Group told CNN. “The people are friendly, the environment is peaceful and the pace of living is slow. It is a good place for Chinese enterprises to go abroad.”

The story explains Wu’s company recently purchased a dormant shopping complex in northwestern Milwaukee that was built in the 1970s, for $6 million. It will  open the mall, renamed AmAsia, in August, according to CNN, part of a growing trend of Chinese investment in US real estate. That trend has mostly been in cities outside the Rust Belt –until now.

But not so fast- according to the story. Japanese investors did the same thing a few decades ago and it didn’t work out very well.

Why not?

“You go into a place like Milwaukee, and you have a country that has no clue what people in Milwaukee want in a mall and when they buy it the first thing they do is change it to run like a Japanese mall or a Korean mall or a Chinese mall,” according to an international business attorney quoted in the story. “Well nobody wants to go and then they bail.”

While the firm does plan to have a US company run the mall, it the story says it is recruiting retailers from China. “Two potential candidates include Beijing Wu Yu Tai Tea Company Ltd. and Tong Sheng He, a shoe shop. The goal, he says, is to help Chinese brands boost their image in America while enabling American businesses to connect directly with Chinese wholesalers without having to go through a middleman.

‘It is only a matter of time for the U.S. to recognize Chinese products are high quality,’ he told CNN. ‘[The mall] will represent the highest levels of Chinese manufacturing.'” The mall will also have Chinese cultural exhibits like painting or dancing.

Is this a concept that could succeed in your city?

I’m skeptical. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out that this mall is not near a highway interchange, as most malls are. The city had planned to demolish the site and put homes there, according to the paper.

Furthermore, while I know we as a country buy billions of dollars worth of Chinese-made products, I just can’t imagine people really embracing this concept.

On the other hand, if they want to invest here…why not?

What do you think?

-KG

7 Comments

Filed under Economic Development, Headline, Politics, Real Estate

Growing Power

p3126814

All you members of GLUE – Great Lakes Urban Exchange– may remember hearing (and seeing!) Will Allen and learning about his amazing urban farm, Growing Power, in Milwaukee.

In fact, we at Rust Wire featured some photos from Growing Power back in March.

Now, The New York Times has noticed Allen and the work he is doing.

For those of you not familiar with the project, Growing Power is  “14 greenhouses crammed onto two acres in a working-class neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, less than half a mile from the city’s largest public-housing project.” It advocates safe, healthy, affordable food for everyone.

-KG

1 Comment

Filed under Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Headline, the environment, Urban Farming