Submitted By Taulby Roach
The creation of a new organization called Greater St. Louis, Inc. may be one of the most important developments in years for our region, which has struggled because of issues related to fragmentation and lack of a unified effort aimed at helping all parts of the region to grow. We finally have one organization to serve as a single voice speaking on behalf of a broad base of stakeholders. The strength of this collaboration may well lie in the fact it is getting the right people together to focus on shared priorities. Bi-State Development and Metro Transit are proof that a collaborative regional partnership approach works.
It is no secret Metro Transit ridership has been negatively impacted for several years because of real and perceived security issues. Frankly, we failed to recognize the importance of a collaborative approach being a key part of the solution, and we failed to deliver the product we promised the region. It took hard decisions and the help of trusted colleagues to realize this, and subsequently move to change. I am proud to report this change is underway, but like our entire region, we still have work to do.
Real progress started in February 2020 after a joint security agreement was executed by all three jurisdictions served by the Metro Transit system. The agreement was the result of two years of hard work and collaboration between Metro Transit, Bi-State Development, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, WSP, St. Louis County, City of St. Louis, St. Clair County and our law enforcement partners at St. Louis County Police Department, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. We are seeing progress that illustrates just how much can be accomplished when the right people share a commitment to a single priority – creating a safer, more secure transit system.
The St. Louis Regional Freightway is another great example of how a unified approach can yield positive results. We established the St. Louis region’s new freight district, and have taken a collaborative approach to market our region’s incredible freight assets, grow the $6 billion of goods traveling through the bi-state area annually, and ensure the freight network can handle the 45% growth in freight volume projected by 2040.
The St. Louis Regional Freightway has united key stakeholders toward a common focus by establishing partnerships bridging bi-state government boundaries, the public and private sector, industries and various modes of transportation. Together, we develop an annual regional Priority Projects List, which identifies the key infrastructure needs of the manufacturing and logistics industries. This model has earned national recognition and advanced our region as a global freight and logistics hub.
We’ve seen firsthand that collaboration works, and we’re excited by the launch of Greater St. Louis, Inc. because it has the potential to create a brighter future for our region.
Taulby Roach is President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development, which oversees Metro Transit and the St. Louis Regional Freightway as two of its enterprises.