Local Dems want to force more Washingtonians to use inferior, faraway airports 

I'm really taken aback by our own Susan Ferrechio's excellent piece today on the airport protectionism being promoted by our local senators and members of Congress. I was unaware until now that they are probably the reason I often have to take long, unnecessary drives and bus rides when I need to go out of town. They are fighting to keep in place a decades-old rule that prevents a larger number of long-distance flights from leaving Reagan.

Their goal is to force more people to use use Dulles (an inconvenient and inferior airport 26 miles away) and BWI (way, way too far), instead of Reagan National, the convenient airport that is just a short Metro ride away from downtown and any of Washington's residential neighborhoods.

Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, both Virginia Democrats, and Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrats, sent a letter last spring warning Rockefeller and others negotiating the FAA bill that they do not want Congress altering the perimeter rule at Reagan, mainly because it would economically threaten Washington Dulles International Airport 26 miles to the west and Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, which is 33 miles to the north.

....Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., told The Washington Examiner, that if more flights are allowed at Reagan, it would damage Dulles economically and threaten the airport's bond rating.

"The bond rating is tied to a certain volume and a certain number of flights," Connolly said. "The more you take away flights from Dulles and give them to National for congressional convenience, the more you jeopardize the financial standing of Dulles Airport. Our understanding is the bond rating houses have warned us."

Remember -- we're talking about two airports that Washingtonians avoid if possible. Dulles isn't even convenient to most of the Virginia suburbs. The rationale appears to be that if we allow more long-distance flights from Reagan, we're going to endanger the ability of the less desirable airports to borrow and expand so that more people can be forced to use them. It's just mind-boggling.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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