Now <em>This</em> is the Way to Raise Money for Metro

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 19, 2006 11:44 AM

Wow, look at this! In the free market, companies will give the Metro rail system money of their own free will just to get access to the highly educated, highly wired customers who use the system. Amazing.

The nation’s four largest wireless phone service providers are joining forces to land a lucrative contract to revamp and expand phone, Internet and other communication services across the Metro system, officials said Tuesday.If the proposal is successful, wireless phone and wireless Internet devices from the four companies—- Sprint-Nextel, T-Mobile, Cingular and Verizon — and others would
function at station platforms, tunnels and bus stops throughout the region, according to sources close to negotiations between the
companies.

The deal, if approved, could bring in tens of
millions in new revenue to Metro from ad sales and revenue-sharing
deals without any cost to the transit agency.

See how nifty that is? In the free market, no one has to take money forcefully from anyone. In this case, Metro wins by getting millions of dollars a year, riders win by getting cell and wireless service on the Metro, and the companies win by being able to compete for customers even when they're underground. And, no one loses at all!

It almost seems like, if the government worked with these folks more often, maybe they wouldn't have to keep wrenching billions away from taxpayers, as they did this week.