Area lawmakers are hoping to put a stop to efforts to expand the flight-distance limits now in effect at Washington Reagan National Airport.
Congress is currently considering the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation, appropriations for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and a potential infrastructure package, presenting the opportunity to insert language that would allow more long-haul flights from the overburdened close-in airport.
In their letter, the members point out that when Congress established the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in 1986, it was charged with operating, promoting, and protecting Reagan National and Dulles International together as primary airports serving the metropolitan Washington area, in addition to Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
The delegation notes that maintaining current rules will allow Dulles and BWI to continue to grow and serve long-haul destinations, while also not subjecting space-constrained National Airport to additional traffic that could overwhelm parking and baggage facilities and have negative impacts on neighboring communities.
“Maintaining operational stability has also achieved balance … so that the broader interests of the region are better served,” the congressional representatives wrote. “Our airports enable Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia to access the global economy in ways that create jobs and opportunities for the region. Part of the rationale for the relocation of major corporate headquarters such as SAIC, Hilton Hotels, Nestle USA, and Volkswagen of America is the connectivity our regional aviation system provides.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), A. Don McEachin (D-VA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), John Delaney (D-MD), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Alex Mooney (R-WV), David McKinley (R-WV), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).