RELEASE: New Poll Shows Majority Of Virginia Voters Support Modernizing Outdated DCA Perimeter Rule, Improving Affordable Access To & From National Capital Region

Northern Virginia Residents Oppose Current Perimeter Rule By Two-To-One Margin


Washington, D.C. – The Capital Access Alliance (CAA), a coalition of transportation and business leaders from Virginia and around the country seeking to make air travel to and from Washington, D.C. more accessible and affordable, released new survey results today of more than 1,000 Virginia residents that found the majority of voters in the Commonwealth support modernizing the 1960s perimeter rule and adding more flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). 

The poll was conducted by co/efficient, a national research and analytics company with more than 30 years of experience in political, nonprofit and corporate campaigns, including a number of statewide campaigns in the Commonwealth.

“There are two things Virginians value most when it comes to air travel and that’s convenience and affordability,” said CAA spokesman and Northern Virginia resident Brian Walsh. “Nearly 80 percent of Virginia voters are unaware of the perimeter rule, but once they understand that it’s stifling competition and costing them more time and money when traveling by air, a clear majority supports modernizing this outdated regulation.”

Key findings from the poll include:

  • A significantly low number of Virginians across all demographics are aware of the perimeter rule – only 21 percent of individuals surveyed.
  • In Northern Virginia, more than two-thirds of the population remains unaware of the perimeter rule.
  • Affordability is the key factor for public support of modernizing the perimeter rule, with more than 76 percent supporting efforts to lower ticket prices.
  • When hearing an explanation of the perimeter rule, voters in the Commonwealth oppose it by a two-to-one margin.
  • Nearly six out of ten (57 percent) Northern Virginia residents support reforming the perimeter rule, and only 22 percent believe it should be kept as is.

DCA is the only airport in the country subject to the federally imposed perimeter rule and restrictions on the number of flights allowed beyond the 1,250-mile perimeter. Congressmen Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Burgess Owens (R-UT) recently introduced the bipartisan Direct Capital Access Act – or the DCA Act – that would add 28 in-and beyond-perimeter flights at DCA, which would be allocated among all the airlines that currently serve the airport. Congress will consider the bill as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act this fall. 

new study details with supporting data that DCA is an underutilized airport and has the capacity to add dozens more flights – especially given its recent $1 billion expansion. Additional flights would help boost competition, lower ticket prices and give thousands more daily passengers direct access to and from DCA. In addition, more flights would strengthen the National Capital Region’s economy by generating up to $400 million in economic value and creating more than 1,000 local jobs. 

The CAA poll comes on the heels of an online survey by Arlington-based publication ARLnow, showing that more than 50 percent of residents in the Arlington region support adding more DCA flights.

“There are two great airports in Northern Virginia, and travelers who prioritize flying into and out of DCA deserve affordable access. Our polling data confirms that the current perimeter rule is not well suited for today’s market and there is strong support in the Commonwealth for adding more flights at DCA. We encourage Virginia lawmakers to protect consumers instead of the status quo and vote in favor of the DCA Act,” concluded Walsh.

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.