In Case You Missed It: Montana State Representative Says Stronger Access To Washington, D.C. Is Key For State’s Continued Growth
“As Montana continues to grow in the coming years, it will be key to ensure access to and from Washington, D.C. keeps pace.”
– Jane Gillette, Montana State Representative
In case you missed it, an op-ed in Flathead Beacon penned by Jane Gillette, a Montana State Representative from Gallatin County, outlines the need in the Treasure State for additional flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), specifically via the Direct Capital Access Act (The DCA Act).
Gillette notes how expensive airfare is for Montanans traveling to Washington, D.C. because of the outdated perimeter rule and how increased competition would alleviate high costs. She points to Montana’s growing business community, including a booming technology sector, and the policy issues, such as agriculture and energy, that require state leaders to have greater access to federal lawmakers and regulators. Gillette says access to affordable air travel is important for Montana’s growth and calls on Senators Tester and Daines to support The DCA Act.
Read the entire piece in Flathead Beacon HERE and below:
Increasing Air Travel Options for the Western U.S. Makes Sense for Montana
Jane Gillette, state Representative from Gallatin County
June 22, 2023
It is an excellent time to be a business owner in Montana. Americans from all corners of our nation are beginning to get back out and adventure, and many of them are coming to our great state. This increased traffic, combined with our burgeoning technology sector here in Bozeman, has made for a stronger and healthier economy.
A key factor in the economic growth of the Gallatin Valley is access to air travel. This year Congress can help facilitate additional growth in air travel options for western communities like ours by supporting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization. Included with this reauthorization is a proposal, known as the DCA Act, to add more flights to Reagan National Airport (DCA) from the western United States.
More direct flights to the western part of the country from DCA, even if not to and from Montana specifically, would increase the ability of those in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to come to our state. This would provide increased access for remote workers evaluating Montana as a place to settle and further strengthen our tourism industry. For Montana, these additional flights make sense and would provide tremendous value.
Currently, access to and from DCA is limited by the “perimeter rule,” which was established in the 1960s. The rule restricts the number of flights that can take off and land beyond a 1,250-mile perimeter of DCA, making access to the nation’s capital unnecessarily difficult for those of us out West, while making the western part of the country less accessible for those in the national capital region.
A recent study confirms that the perimeter rule is no longer necessary to meet its 1960s-era objectives.
By moving the perimeter rule into the modern era, our lawmakers can reverse some of the unintended consequences we’re seeing. For instance, the study found that adding in- and beyond-perimeter flights to and from DCA would lower ticket prices for passengers. Airfare for those traveling to DCA is currently the highest among airports in the top 10 metropolitan areas nationwide. Additionally, passengers flying to DCA typically have to make at least one connecting flight. The economic benefits and added convenience are undeniable.
As Montana continues to grow in the coming years, it will be key to ensure access to and from Washington, D.C. keeps pace. The number of people seeking to visit us and work remotely in our state is only going to keep rising. Growing tech hubs like Bozeman will have a leg up when recruiting candidates to a remote, yet accessible destination. Demonstrable success in doing so could very well incentivize additional companies to call Montana home in the coming years.
Additionally, business leaders in our state and their employees will continue to depend on access to policymakers and regulators in our nation’s capital – especially for Montana’s tech companies. The same goes for leaders in Montana’s agriculture and energy sectors, as well as those on the front lines of environmental and conservation efforts. Much of the policy that impacts them is shaped at the federal level.
By increasing affordable and convenient access to states beyond DCA’s 1,250-mile perimeter, Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines can help Montana capitalize on the desire of so many to visit or make the state their permanent home, as well as help Montanans who are counting on enhanced access to the national capital region. I encourage them to support adding additional flights to and from DCA through the DCA Act to help our great state continue to grow.
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.