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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Regional Cooperation Between Milwaukee, Chicago, and Gary

By Aaron S. Robertson

For some time, there has been a lot of talk by state government officials, business leaders, and researchers throughout the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana about the need to build cooperation between the metro areas of Milwaukee, Chicago, and Gary.

I have been following the discussion with great interest. It first came to my attention when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a number of articles and opinion pieces on the subject during the summer of 2012. Just today, in fact, there was another great opinion piece published in the Crossroads section of the Journal Sentinel, written by Paul Jones and Kelly O'Brien. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker discussed it during a speaking engagement at an economic symposium held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago some time ago. I hope that the concept catches fire, and that we can see cooperation flourish.

Even though Milwaukee, Chicago, and Gary are in different states, it really makes no sense to try to poach companies and other resources from each other. In the end, though each state is concerned about its own economic vibrancy and has its own goals, we're all a part of a larger unit, the United States. So while raiding each other's corporate and research assets may beef up our own individual state growth numbers, what are we really gaining in the end? On the national level, there's really no gains made.

But by moving toward a more collaborative direction, we have a great opportunity to lift those national numbers up by pooling great minds in both business and research, among other resources. This can lead to so many more great discoveries and innovations on many, many levels.

I sincerely hope the idea takes off.

What are your thoughts on more regional cooperation between the metro areas of Milwaukee, Chicago, and Gary? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section.

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