In Case You Missed It: Top Utah Business Leader Calls For Increased Access To Washington, D.C. By Modernizing “Obsolete” DCA Perimeter Rule

In case you missed it, Scott Cuthbertson, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), published an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune on the economic need in Utah for increased access and affordability to and from Washington, D.C. by modernizing the outdated perimeter rule at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

The op-ed highlights Utah’s continued population and economic growth, noting that the Beehive State now has the highest rated economy and the fastest growing population in the country. Cuthbertson writes that increased access to the Washington, D.C. region would promote an even stronger economy by incentivizing entrepreneurs and business executives to create more jobs in the state. He notes this is particularly the case for industries critical to Utah that are subject to substantial federal regulation, such as aerospace, defense, deep tech and financial services.

Cuthbertson thanks members of Utah’s Congressional delegation who have supported legislation aimed at increasing access to and from DCA, specifically U.S. Representatives Burgess Owens (UT-04), Blake Moore (UT-01) and John Curtis (UT-03). He also recognizes U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) who have been championing a bipartisan agreement to increase the number of flights at DCA.

Read the piece HERE and below:

Adding more flights from D.C. to Salt Lake City is good for Utah’s economy
The Salt Lake Tribune
Scott Cuthbertson
November 22, 2023

The Economic Development Corporation of Utah’s (EDCUtah) mission is to catalyze economic opportunity and quality jobs in Utah. Since EDCUtah’s founding in 1987, it has enjoyed a front seat to our state’s remarkable economic growth as Utah has become the nation’s top economy.

Maintaining this competitive position involves rethinking current policies in an era of rapid growth, including those that affect our vibrant international airport, which supports Utah’s dynamic industries and increased population. Unfortunately, a decades-old regulation in Washington, D.C., stands in the way of improving flight access to our nation’s capital.

The antiquated policy known as the “perimeter rule” limits the number of long-distance direct flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulation, the number of flights originating from or traveling to destinations outside an artificial 1,250-mile perimeter around DCA is capped despite the airport’s capacity to receive more. Salt Lake City International Airport offers many direct flights to some of the busiest airports in the nation, yet daily flight service is limited to one nonstop flight to DCA per day. As the fastest growing state in the nation, Utah’s industry and residents are being held back by this outdated regulation from the 1960s.

Access to direct flights can have an outsized influence on where firms choose to operate and invest. Travel must be convenient and affordable as we compete with other states to attract and retain the most innovative companies. Modernizing this travel policy will encourage business executives and entrepreneurs to create more jobs in Utah. This is particularly the case for industries critical to Utah that are subject to substantial federal regulation such as aerospace, defense, deep tech and financial services. Businesses in these sectors require continual interaction with policy makers and regulators in Washington, D.C.

The perimeter rule was created as a protectionist policy intended to support growth at other airports near Washington, D.C., but has since become obsolete and places an undue burden on Utah’s business community, residents and visitors alike traveling to and from the nation’s capital. The lack of competition results in inflated ticket prices, longer flight times and fewer choices for consumers. In fact, flights to the capital region are the most expensive compared to the country’s top ten metropolitan regions.

Congress is currently working to reform the outdated regulation through the FAA Reauthorization bill in the U.S. Senate. We thank Utah’s U.S. Representatives Burgess Owens (UT-04), who has been working tirelessly to bring about this change, Blake Moore (UT-01) and John Curtis (UT-03) for voicing their support. In addition, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have been championing an agreement to increase the number of flights at DCA. We hope the bipartisan amendment will be included in the FAA Reauthorization bill and that Utah’s full congressional delegation will show their support.

As the state with the highest rated economy in the country and the fastest growing population, Utah businesses and residents deserve increased access to our nation’s capital. 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.

Scott Cuthbertson is the president and CEO of EDCUtah.

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.