In Case You Missed It: Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber CEO Calls For Modernization Of Antiquated Perimeter Rule

“We need a modern policy that supports our economic development. Virginia legislators should support the Hispanic community and pass the DCA Act.” – Susana Marino, founding President and Chair of the Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce

In case you missed it, a new op-ed in El Tiempo Latino by Susana Marino, founding president and chair of the Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce (NOVAHCC), explains why additional flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) will benefit the Latino business community in Northern Virginia.

Marino highlights that Latinos are the fastest growing group in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and that 31 percent of small businesses in Northern Virginia are Hispanic-owned. She writes that a modern policy that better connects the Washington, D.C. region with the rest of the country is critical for Northern Virginia’s economic growth and calls on lawmakers to support the bipartisan Direct Capital Access Act (The DCA Act).

Read the entire piece in El Tiempo Latino HERE and below:

The Perimeter Modernization Of The Washington, DC Airport Will Make Fares Cheaper In The Region
El Tiempo Latino
Susana Marino, founding President and Chair of the Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce
June 8, 2023

Entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners who are members of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are an integral part of our thriving economy. We run some of the largest healthcare, technology and financial services companies, including 20 Fortune 500 companies. Among those titans are our small businesses, neighborhood cafes and restaurants, local manufacturers and home services. We are professionals who travel to places near and far, and who serve the travelers who visit us.

Facilitating direct entry and exit from the Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia region is critical to our continued economic growth, but that’s getting in the way of a federal rule imposing a perimeter around Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington. This year, lawmakers can make much-needed changes to this outdated rule by authorizing more direct flights to DCA, which will benefit Northern Virginia businesses and consumers.

The imposition of arbitrary restrictions on the number of flights allowed does not allow the free market to function. It is supposed that this generates competition to contribute to the reduction of prices. When supply is limited, prices rise, making fares in Washington, DC the most expensive of the top 10 US metropolitan markets. In fact, recent data from the US Department of Transportation confirms that Dulles International Airport (IAD) has the highest fares in the country.

DCA is the only airport in the country affected by the restrictions of this decades-old federal rule, and customers and the region are literally paying for it. Not only do consumers pay more for their tickets, but maintaining the perimeter rule as such costs the Nation’s Capital Region approximately $290 million due to lost federal and state tax revenue, and represents more than 5,000 lost jobs.

DCA’s perimeter rule also limits access by some of the largest Hispanic voter and business groups to the nation’s capital. Cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, El Paso, San Jose, Fresno, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and others with the largest number of Hispanics in the country have limited or indirect access to Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia.

According to American University’s DC-Metro Latin Research Initiative, Latinos are also the fastest growing group in the Washington, DC metropolitan area Of Northern Virginia businesses, 31% are owned by Hispanics. Tourist and business travel are important sources of income that they depend on, and if consumers pay less for airfare, more travelers will be able to come to the region.

Opponents of the perimeter rule update have apparently not realized how much the region has changed since it went into effect. Population growth means that IAD and DCA can coexist without one airport depriving the other of customers. Operational and infrastructure improvements at DCA, including its $1 billion expansion, make it easier for travelers to get in and out.

Bill HR 3185, the Direct Capital Access Act (known as the DCA Act), which has bipartisan support, will update the perimeter rule for the 21st century and help address the current demand for air travel. Adding an additional 28 flights to DCA will benefit residents, businesses and the millions of people who visit the region each year with more options at lower prices. Additionally, our region would benefit from the added value of up to $400 million and more than 1,000 jobs.

Perhaps that is why the changes to this policy are attractive to residents of Northern Virginia. Two-thirds of Northern Virginia voters don’t know about the perimeter rule, but once it’s explained to them, 6 in 10 favor changing it.

As we continue to grow, it is imperative to improve connectivity between the Washington, DC region and the rest of the country. We need a modern policy that supports our economic development. Virginia legislators should support the Hispanic community and pass the DCA Act.

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.