Whitmer announces transportation startup contest



(The Center Square) – There’s sharks in the water in Michigan.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a new “PitchMI” competition, where startups will compete for $100,000 in the style of the television show “Shark Tank.”

The state will partner with other organizations to award the best pitch on improving transportation. Details on applying are expected soon.

“We’re asking a very simple question: How will you help Michiganders get from point A to point B safely, affordably and efficiently?” Whitmer said. “Is it a new way to fix the roads? Maybe it’s improving the range and efficiency of electric vehicle batteries or connecting public transit systems.”

The competition is timely, since the state is nearing the close of a five-year, $3.5 billion bond issued in 2019 for highway reconstruction. With more electric vehicles driving, and many roads remaining in disrepair, it raises the question of if traditional gas taxes will be enough to sustain construction.

PitchMI won’t just happen once. The governor plans on holding the contest every year, looking to solve a different problem each time.

“PitchMI is going to draw attention and exposure for hundreds of promising startups making a difference here in Michigan, even if they don’t win,” Whitmer said.

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