The East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG or Council) provides a forum for local governments of the bi-state St. Louis area to work together to solve problems that cross jurisdictional boundaries. The geographic region that East-West Gateway has served since 1965 is the 4,500 square miles encompassed by the City of St. Louis; Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties in Missouri; Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties in Illinois.
East-West Gateway is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the area, which means that the federal government and the states have vested legal authority and responsibility in the agency for developing and adopting plans for the region’s surface transportation system.
Any transportation project within the boundaries of the eight member counties that will be wholly or partially funded with federal dollars must be contained in plans that are formally adopted by the Board of Directors.
Transportation planning is not simply an exercise in design and engineering. It requires understanding and addressing the complex relationship between mobility and the region’s economy, community, and ecology. Its final product is an evolving transportation investment strategy to serve the region’s economic vitality and broad quality of life goals. For that reason, the tools of planning – many of which are referenced later in this document – include population and employment estimates, land use and transportation facility inventories and maps, environmental quality assessments, computer models of existing and future travel patterns, and activities to engage interest groups and community residents in setting priorities.
East-West Gateway’s designation as a regional council of governments (COG) means that the agency has the civic responsibility to set the table for cooperative planning and problem-solving among and between any of its member local governments who believe that they can accomplish better things by working together than by acting separately. Although much of this cooperative planning takes place among the eight major jurisdictions of the region, it is not uncommon to find several small cities and towns clustered around a community betterment initiative at East-West Gateway. These initiatives address issues as diverse as tax policy, environmental quality, public safety, workforce development, access to jobs, economic development, community planning, and others that might be of interest to members of the Board of Directors.