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Detroit: America’s comeback city?

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Detroit: America’s comeback city?

Detroit is America’s comeback city, according to some of Michigan’s top leaders. DTE Energy CEO Gerard Anderson, State of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Ford Motor Executive Bill Ford Jr. have all stood behind Detroit’s comeback, and are confident the former industrial powerhouse can reverse several decades of decay.

Population growth, rebounding profits for the city’s automotive sector and lower unemployment are strong signs Detroit is making a historic comeback, according to Anderson, et al. Michigan’s unemployment rate has fallen 5.2 percentage points from its 2009 high of 14.2 percent. The city’s automotive industry has increased production to account for growing demand in the domestic market.

“Because of the confidence that we at Ford have in the state, we’re really doubling down our investments in Michigan,” said Ford. The three leaders are concerned Detroit is receiving unnecessarily bad publicity. “The problem,” according to Snyder, is the headlines “don’t really represent the realities of what’s going on and the underlying facts.”

However, the reality is Detroit still faces harsh circumstances. The city’s population has fallen below 700,000, and still houses tens of thousands of abandoned buildings. More than half of the city’s 88,000 street lights aren’t functioning. The state of Michigan still suffers from the fourth-worst unemployment rate in the country.

Despite the challenges, state policymakers and business leaders must promote Detroit as America’s comeback city, and must attract investment dollars to the city’s core. Detroit’s opportunities must outweigh its downsides if the once mighty Motor City is to re-establish itself.

The City of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy July 18, 2013 after it was unable to clear nearly $20 billion worth of debt. Prior to Detroit, Jefferson County, Alabama held the record for largest municipal bailout at $4 billion. Congress outright dismissed the option of a federal bailout, as Republican lawmakers rushed to introduce budget amendments banning municipal handouts.

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