Outsized CO2 Levels At DCA Due To Antiquated Perimeter Rule Are Harming The Region’s Environment

Washington, D.C. – According to a recent report by WAMU, the Washington D.C. region’s public media and National Public Radio (NPR) member station, “Summer in D.C. brings swarms of mosquitoes, destructive micro-burst storms, and of course, smog.” And that’s why officials in Washington are asking residents to help limit air pollution by driving less in the month of August.  

This spotlight on the local environment is leading the Capital Access Alliance (CAA), a nationwide coalition of business and transportation leaders seeking to make air travel to and from Washington, D.C. more accessible and affordable, to ask why elected officials in the D.C. government, as well as the Virginia and Maryland Congressional Delegations, aren’t similarly concerned with the environmental record at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). 

These politicians claim to care about the environment, yet look the other way when the conversation threatens one airline’s monopoly leaving capital area residents with worse air quality and higher ticket prices.

According to a recent study conducted by one of the country’s top management consulting companies, a key consequence of the 1960s era-perimeter rule that governs operations at DCA has resulted in the airport having the highest carbon footprint per passenger among all airports in the top metropolitan areas in the country. This is due to an outsized number of passengers having to take multiple flights to reach their final destination when flying out of DCA versus being able to take a single direct flight to their destination with a lower carbon footprint.

The data is clear – lack of direct access to and from DCA hurts both consumers and the environment. Unfortunately, some of our local officials would rather maintain the status quo than consider reasonable change leading to better air quality and lower prices,” CAA spokesperson and Northern Virginia resident Brian Walsh said today.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data shows that DCA has the capacity to safely add more flights during at least three different time blocks each day. Former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, who supports adding new flights, said in a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, “Millions of Americans would benefit from lower ticket prices, less time on connecting flights and greater access to America’s capital city.”

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.