The new Mississippi River bridge is planned to open seven or eight years from now. That leaves residents of Missouri and Illinois - and their legislatures - plenty of time to find a good name for the span.
A state representative from southern Illinois has already suggested calling it the Veterans Bridge - an excellent choice, but not the only obvious one. Other people have suggested selling the right to name the bridge to a corporate sponsor and using the revenue for bridge operations or public transportation. The AB Bridge has a certain ring to it, but I think that the Build-A-Bear Bridge might have more tourist appeal. Local statesmen are always popular choices for bridge names, so I will certainly expect to hear arguments for a Bond Bridge or an Obama Bridge. Future transportation decisions might get more favorable editorial treatment if Missouri and Illinois were connected by the new Tribune Bridge or the Lee Enterprises Bridge. And it would certainly make a certain statement to transfer the name of the older Martin Luther King Bridge to the shiny new bridge - and that choice could restore the original name of Veterans Memorial Bridge to the current King Bridge.
Still, when all is finally said and done, maybe those responsible for the naming decision will simply use the opportunity to highlight the remarkable region connected by the new bridge and call it the St. Louis Bridge.
I am certainly not going to be naming the bridge, but I do mean to encourage a thoughtful discussion.