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Sault receives $2 million to boost local tourism

The grant will enhance the Sault Ste. Marie International 500 Raceway; the project is expected to support 50 jobs in the area
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Sawyer Sanborn, 8, from Farwell, Minn., goes open-throttle during the Mini-5 Kids race that kicked off the I-500 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. this year.

Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau has been awarded $2 million to boost tourism by enhancing the Sault Ste. Marie International 500 Raceway as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant program. The project is expected to support a total of 50 jobs in the area.  

“This $2 million investment in the Sault will create or retain 50 good-paying jobs and help us continue to grow our Pure Michigan economy,” Whitmer said. “Since I took office, we have made the largest one-time investment in state and local parks in Michigan history, supporting local tourism and recreation-driven economies across our great state. Today’s Michigan’s economy is growing, with low unemployment, 133,000 jobs added in the last year, and transformational projects bringing billions in investment and creating thousands of jobs. I will work with anyone to keep moving Michigan forward.” 

“Investing in infrastructure is critical to Michigan’s economy and attracting visitors, including in the Upper Peninsula,” said Sen. Gary Peters. “This grant will provide federal resources for upgrades at the International 500 Raceway that will help boost tourism, support local jobs and strengthen the economy.” 

This project will construct new roads, a parking lot, a vendor building and other upgrades that will help make the raceway venue a year-round tourist destination. The EDA investment will be matched with $513,000 in local funds and is expected to create or retain 50 jobs and generate $2 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. 

“President Biden recognizes the vital contribution the travel and tourism industry makes to the American economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping this critical sector not only recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic but build back stronger and more equitably for the future.”  

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project in Sault Ste. Marie expands opportunities at an important tourism asset in the state’s Eastern Upper Peninsula region that will provide new jobs, attract more tourism dollars and build economic resiliency for decades to come.” 

This project is funded under EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. EDA awarded $510 million in grants to all 50 states and territories in 2021. The two programs are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. Effective May 26, 2022, EDA has officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications. The $3 billion program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through Sept. 30, 2022. 

Rebuilding Michigan’s Roads and Bridges  

Since taking office through the end of 2022, Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist will have fixed, repaired, or replaced more than 16,000 lane miles of road and 1,200 bridges, supporting more than 89,000 jobs without raising taxes by a dime. These and future repairs are made possible by the Rebuilding Michigan plan, a five-year, $3.5 billion investment in our highways and bridges, and the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan, the largest one-time investment in Michigan's infrastructure in state history. These strategic investments in Michigan's infrastructure ensure that future Michiganders will have safer roads and bridges to run errands, travel, and strengthen the economy. 

Learn more about the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration’s historic infrastructure investments by clicking on the following link: Infrastructure Accomplishments

Infrastructure Investments in the FY 2023 Budget 

Whitmer and Gilchrist’s fourth balanced and bipartisan budget expands on the investments in the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan signed in April by speeding up the replacement of lead service lines, reducing traffic congestion at local rail crossings, improving state fish hatcheries, and funding long-overdue maintenance projects at state facilities. Additionally, the budget will make critical improvements to Selfridge Air Force Base in Macomb County, invest in Innovate Mound, a transformative project to rebuild Mound Road, one of the most important corridors in Southeast Michigan, and fund modernizing Michigan’s armories, shoring up our readiness and supporting local construction jobs.