Form Regional government including Columbia and Rolla

The idea of merely merging the City and County is flawed for it is not up to the challenges now before us nor the technological challenges of driverless commuting. We should propose a constitutional amendment of a new regional government having jurisdiction over: (1) Higher Education; (2) Economic Development; (3) Transportation (including roads and streets; and (4) Land use and Zoning. Here is an earlier form of this proposal First, while our form of government does hurt St. Louis the far bigger problem is our siloed and very poorly networked and functioning business community. The importance of networking to regional success is well understood. Here is a good starting point. Second, and the good thing discussed at a recent meeting, is that a combination of St.Louis City and County will not be large enough to offset the very negative out-state vs. St. Louis politics of Missouri. Combined, the two would only have about 21% of the state's population. I would propose that we expand regional government to include Columbia and Rolla, which would be consistent with the boundaries economists would project for the region in 2025. There are a number of sub-reasons for this such as the end for high speed transportation between Saint Louis and Columbia but the greater reason is to stop the flow of state tax revenues (sales and income) out of the St. Louis Region. Here is an excellent study of the very negative impact of revenue transfers out of cites by taxation. As to form of the regional government, I would propose that it be totally exempted from the Hancock Amendment and that its jurisdiction be limited foregoing five areas, leaving to existing counties, cities, and districts functions such as police, fire, and ambulance service. Also, k-12 education would remain local. Higher Education. Past the above issues, the Number One issue for Saint Louis is our very low educational attainment among major metropolitian areas. Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul have near 40% of their work forces with college degrees. We have less than 30%, which is a 25% Gap in productivity and ultimately wages. If a regional government were established it could, first connect UMSL, Washington University, and Saint Louis University with Columbia by high speed transit (rail or perhaps driverless bus). Rolla would be moved to UMSL and Rolla's campus repurposed as a second Truman State. Most importantly, freed of the Hancock cap we could re-purpose and raise taxes sufficient to adequately fund higher education in Missouri for the first time since 1980 (we under fund now, state wide, by at least $4 billions). The ultimate goal would be to make the St. Louis equal to San Francisco and Boston with four higher education institutions in the top 30 in the World, all connected by light rail or high speed transportation. Consolidating the remaining functions should be self-evident, but for land use planning and zoning. With I am a tremendous advocate of cities and city density, I do not expect the story of the next 25 years to be that of dense cities. I expect the story to be one of people searching for a back yard where they can install cheap solar panels or wind for charging their electric cars off the grid. We all understand that technology profoundly shapes cities, as the automobile did after 1900. We may be about to see a profoundly new change is driverless cars can be economically green powered with cheap solar panels. The drive to work becomes productive work time, so while people will drive to work for the network effects of working, they may be searching for a backyard for solar panel space. St Louis City was knee-capped in the late 1940s, 50s, and 60s when technology let hundreds of thousands of people escape the City's air pollution and move to St. Louis County. In considering how to organize a government for the future we should start by asking, how could technology re-organize life in the next 25 years. Contrary to the dreams of those who want everyone else to live densely packed in a city, soon to be deployed technology may permit even longer commutes.

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