You might not hear about it in the major news networks, but Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld made an announcement about a change that could fix Washington, D.C.’s suffering Metro system for good.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, a large union of Metro employees, was horrified.
“Today’s announcement…is another example of WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s failed leadership and wasteful spending” the union said in a statement on their website.1
So, what’s causing the alarm?
The free market is coming to rescue the Washington DC Metro.
Paul Wiedefeld announced his plan to seek bids from private companies to build the remaining Silver Line stations — and even drive the trains on the new sections of Silver Line track.
This could dramatically alter the entire Metro Rail system, not just the far end of the Silver Line.
By allowing private companies to compete with the unionized government employees for the opportunity to run the city’s trains, the employees of Metro will finally have the reason to improve that they have so sorely needed.
Metro becomes more expensive and continues to be dysfunctional year after year.
What would happen to a private company with these results?
It would cease to exist.
There are hard stops for companies that do not provide what their customers need.
But a government-run entity?
They receive even more money raised from area residents (collected via taxes, not just from fares) in a desperate attempt to improve quality and safety.
The union will do everything they can to stop the privatization of any portion of the Metro system.
But residents of Northern Virginia and their neighbors in Washington, D.C. and Maryland deserve a better return on their investment.
Exposing the sheltered Metro system to the competition that every American business faces may be the only way to make that happen.
What do you think?
Is the free market the solution or Metro’s constant failures? Or will a new government framework fix the issues?
Let us know in the comments section below!