Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial page editor: Let’s improve the Hiawatha train service

August 3, 2015

Milwaukee’s economic foe is less Chicago than it is Shanghai. Indiana’s is less Illinois than it is India. I suspect that the governors of the three states in the Chicago megacity — all Republicans — know this. But even in a globalized age, old habits die hard.

So you get Indiana putting up signs that ask Illinois: “Illinoyed by higher taxes?” and you get the Illinois governor promising to “rip the economic guts out of Indiana.”

Colorful language, but useless in a global competition.

But despite such zero-sum, cross-border carping, a new Marquette University Law School poll that plumbed attitudes in the tristate region found an appetite among the people for interstate collaboration in at least one key area: transportation. And that’s where this region should focus its collective energy.

The poll was commissioned as part of a conference this week on the Chicago megacity, the region that stretches from the Milwaukee area to northwest Indiana.

The Marquette poll found strong sentiment in theoryfor cooperation across state lines but far less interest when the idea of ox-goring was raised. Asked if Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin should pool their money to promote tourism or to attract large companies to the region, majorities, sometimes sizable majorities, said no way, they’d just as soon not.

But when asked whether the three states would be better off putting money into a common fund for coordinating planning for airports, rail, highways and ports, wide margins agreed with the notion.

 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Editorial Page Editor David D. Haynes’ column can be read in full by clicking here.

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