Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Tri-state cooperation? Pigs may not be flying yet, but they're trying on their wings

Three states — Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana — came together in Chicago's Loop recently to talk about their common future. They didn't decide anything, and the conversation itself revealed how far they have to go. But this meeting simply wouldn't have happened two years ago, and that's progress in itself.

The meeting attracted the often-warring governors of the three states. Not that they were all there at the same time, or even shook hands. But their presence at least endorsed the idea that the three-state Chicago region might gain more from cooperation than cut-throat competition — and that wouldn't have happened two years ago, either.

The eventual goal is to create a single, high-powered, 21-county regional economy stretching from Milwaukee south through Chicago into northwestern Indiana. Right now, the region is incredibly balkanized, with virtually no cooperation across state lines. But a major “territorial review” last year from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said this has to be reversed if Chicago and its region are to compete in the global economy. More here.

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