Ahead Of Potential U.S. Senate Committee On Commerce, Science & Transportation Markup Of FAA Reauthorization Bill, Capital Access Alliance Reinforces Broad Support For Modernizing Perimeter Rule

Diverse Voices From Across The Country Have Called For More Affordable Access To Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation’s potential markup next week of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill is an important reminder of the prominent and diverse voices nationwide that have expressed their support for modernizing the outdated perimeter rule. The regulation has governed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) since the 1960s and artificially limits competition and choices for consumers, leading to the region having the most expensive airfare among the nation’s top metropolitan areas.

Leading Members of Congress in both parties, state and local government officials, as well as business, transportation and education leaders have called on Congress to add new flights at DCA in order to increase competition and give flyers more affordable access to our nation’s capital:

“Federal Aviation Administration data reveals there are multiple blocks of time each day when runway and airspace capacity exceeds demand, so that air-traffic control could safely and efficiently handle more flights … Fundamentally, the only reason to oppose modernizing the perimeter rule is to protect some airlines from competition. That motivation certainly still exists in Washington today, to the detriment of fliers. If the status quo prevails, consumers will continue to pay the price through higher airfares and fewer travel options.”

Former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta

“By limiting the number of flights in and out of National Airport, we are squeezing consumers – they are the ones paying the price.”

U.S. Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA)

“It seems like that would be a good solution. I believe that is pro-consumer.… There has been an explosion in air travel and so you are still going to have ample service or ample demand for you at Dulles Airport, but we also are going to be taking advantage of the convenience of National (DCA). So, I think there is a balance that can be struck there.”

U.S. Representative Garret Graves (R-LA)

“Our nation’s capital should be easily accessible for Americans nationwide… Expanding the number of flights at DCA will lower prices, promote market competition, and benefit consumers nationwide. This is a commonsense concept to increase more options for all Americans.”

U.S. Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID)

“Taxpayers funding government travel from Washington to other parts of the country pay the higher ticket prices caused by the lack of competition. Major businesses headquartered in Northern Virginia also pay stepped-up ticket prices for their employees’ travel. But individual travelers pay those same higher fares, with no government or business to cover the cost. That’s why amajority of Virginians supports modernizing the perimeter rule.”

Former Governor James S. Gilmore III (VA)

“Congressional approval of additional in-and-beyond perimeter flights at DCA is a commonsense approach that reflects what the market and the consumer would like to see.”

Former Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William Howell

“Some things from 1966 remain timeless, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But in our current age of innovation and competition, 1960s-era big government protectionism has outlived its usefulness. Demand for air travel is ten times higher than it was back then. It only makes sense for the perimeter rule to be adapted to better meet consumers’ needs.”

Former U.S. Representative Ryan Costello (PA)

“To be clear, expanding the number of direct flights between DCA and out-of-perimeter airports in the western half of the United States would not impact or limit the flight options for travelers inside the federally imposed artificial barrier – it would only enhance the options that consumers have.”

Former U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla (TX)

“Members on both sides of the aisle should support measures that aim to better align the Washington air travel market with the rest of the country by adding new direct flights to and from DCA.”

Former U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs (OH)

“It doesn’t make sense that the Washington, D.C. market is still controlled by a stagnant, anti-competitive regulation enacted by Congress before the Boeing 737 made its first commercial flight.”

Kansas State Representative & Former United Airlines Pilot Michael Murphy 

“We need a modern policy that supports our economic development. Virginia legislators should support the Hispanic community and pass the DCA Act.”

Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce Founding President Chair Susana Marino

“This legislation does not take away any existing flight options, it creates new options.”

Fayetteville (NC) City Council Member Kathy Keefe Jensen

“Greater competition means lower prices for Missouri’s business travelers and families.”

Former Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones

“Residents throughout our region rely on the Boise Airport to connect them with friends, family and economic opportunity… Visiting our nation’s capital, experiencing the history, art and culture that can only be seen there, is something everyone should be able to do. A direct flight to DCA will open that up for so many.”

Boise (ID) Mayor Lauren McLean

“Ease of affordable travel from our great state to Washington, D.C. – as well as from Washington, D.C. to our communities – would only serve to strengthen North Carolina’s economic opportunities.”

Wake Forest (NC) Mayor Vivian Jones

“Lowering the cost of flying and expanding the convenience of air travel is in everyone’s interests.”

The Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow Stephen Moore

“As someone who spent his entire career ensuring airplanes could land and take-off safely, I can say with certainty that DCA can handle more capacity.”

Retired Certified Professional Air Traffic Controller Todd Jacobson

“More flights could be slotted in easily at off-peak times, alleviating the pressure on travelers and airline employees alike. That’s one fix DCA needs.”

The Washington Times Editorial Board

“Modernizing the perimeter rule to allow more direct flights to DCA will create a more convenient, affordable travel experience to the seat of the U.S. federal government, boosting Utah’s business potential.”

President & CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) Scott Cuthbertson

“Access to government agencies is important for many businesses, especially here. Our cyber presence is huge, and many of our members need to travel to D.C. Accessing those government agencies is vital for their success.”

San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Steven Alaniz

“Congress should take the logical next steps to address the lack of access Utah and other Western states have to our nation’s capital when they take up the FAA Reauthorization bill later this year. Authorizing additional in- and beyond-perimeter flights at DCA will provide increased access to legislators for Utahns, more affordable ticket prices spurring travel, and the added convenience when flying.”

Salt Lake Chamber President & CEO Derek Miller

“California’s small businesses and our communities are incredibly diverse, as are our needs and concerns. These unique voices would benefit greatly from inclusive access to our national government in Washington, D.C. It is critical we have the opportunity to meet with the policymakers who are responsible for regulating and representing us to ensure everyone’s needs and concerns are heard.”

California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce President & CEO Julian Cañete

“It’s about time. Representing the 10th-largest city in the nation, we are behind. We want to see the progress continue to allow for the economic development that we’re enjoying now in Austin. This is an auspicious moment to ensure that we’re continuing to walk the talk, so to speak.”

Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber Chief Operating Officer Brittney Rodriguez

“Adding more flights will help better connect the West Coast to Washington, D.C. and lower ticket prices so more students have more affordable access to our nation’s capital.”

Long-Time California Educator Darlene Torres

About CAA

CAA consists of diverse members from around the country and various industries, including transportation, general business groups, the small business sector, entrepreneurs and job creators, organizations focused on economic development and leaders in the civic and policy communities. 

Learn more about Capital Access Alliance HERE.