04/14/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Metra Naming Rights May Be For Sale Soon

Metra may sell the naming rights to some of its lines and stations, in an effort to address a budget shortfall that has hit every state and local agency.

"At this point, for us, it's just exploratory," Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet told Chicago Breaking News. She said that there have been inquiries from time to time, especially from businesses or hospitals located right near stations, but that the agency has no specifics yet on how much money the plan could generate or how many sponsors it could find.

The Sun-Times points out that there is already a Mars station near the Mars candy factory in Galewood. But the station dates from early in the line's history, before Metra took it over, and Metra receives no payment for the name.

Meanwhile, Chicago wouldn't be the first city to sell some of the naming rights to its public transit. From NBC Chicago:

Last year, New York City sold the naming rights for a cluster of subway stops for $4 million to Barclays. Last Vegas has a monorail named for Nextel and streetcars in Tampa, Fla carry the name of a local utility.