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January 06, 2012

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Do you think that government should compete on price with commercial/private businesses? We have a county owned RV park that at least sets its rates the same as the KOA down the street. With the weather data, maybe the user whether boater, AccuWeather, Wunderground, NOAA, etc should pay or reimburse the NWS for the data.

NOAA and the NWS are both government depatments, Accuweather and the like pay for information which they they disseminate via various outlets such as TV, radio and so on. The whole point is that weather information that the tax payer has already paid for should be freely available. The NWS and NOAA are publically funded, if there is an additional cost then you are in a sense paying for this twice. But the bigger picture is that farmers, boaters, airmen and others rely heavily on weather data. If there is a cost then there is chance that many boaters will set sail without checking the weather properly and could get into difficulties. This may not be much of a deal if you are out for two hours in an afternoon when you can easily make a safe harbor but when I am offshore and get my weather via weather fax from the SSB radio I don't want to end up as a statistic because I did not see the bad weather front approaching.

I may or may not agree that government should provide weather services, but please don't refer to it as free. There is no such thing as "free". Getting things from the government shifts costs, but it does not make costs disappear. And in most cases (not sure about weather info) government increases costs dramatically. It may seem free (or very cheap) only because costs are dispersed and benefits are concentrated.

Your web site is (otherwise) awesome.

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