Over the past two decades, a burgeoning literature has touted the promise of regional collaboration to address a wide range of issues. This article challenges the premise that horizontal collaboration alone can empower regional decision-making venues. By analyzing efforts to create regional venues for transportation policy making in Chicago and Los Angeles, the authors show that vertical power is essential to building regional capacities. Only by exercising power at multiple levels of the political system can local reformers launch a virtuous cycle of reform that begins to build enduring regional capacities.
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