I have spoken and written quite a lot about the advantages of working more closely with St. Louis County. (The recent county election was even fought on the subject.) We and the county duplicate many expensive services, buildings, and functions that could (and should) be combined to save money and increase effectiveness; we work separately on issues that would be better undertaken jointly; and we present ourselves separately to the world at a disadvantage that would disappear if we were counted together.
I have spoken less often about another important regional partnership: cooperative operations and planning with our neighbors across the river. Standing with two Cabinet Secretaries today looking west at St. Louis reminded me what anybody driving back to the City from the east learns every trip: St. Louis really begins in Illinois.
We already acknowledge that reality with Metro and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. And we have been working for months with Illinois officials on a cooperative China Hub proposal and on port issues. Compared to international trade, the design plan to include both sides of the river in the Arch grounds is a relatively simple one. Thematically, the river is the second most important element in the design; aesthetically, the best view of the Arch is from the east.
My hope is that the relationships and habits that are formed from working on the Arch together will lead to even bigger things.