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Opinion: Missourians Deserve To Go To DC Too

As a fifth-generation Missourian, my husband and I are proud to be raising our three children in this great state. It’s an exciting time to be living in Missouri. The population of Missouri is booming at 0.2% growth a year, which equals thousands of people moving to the “Show-Me State” annually, and with them, their businesses, talents, and skills follow suit. In fact, Missouri has become the global leader in agricultural technology.

Missouri is trailblazing into the future, and with that, a greater need for stronger access to Washington, D.C. Standing in the way, however, is an outdated regulation known as the “perimeter rule” that continues to be forced upon Missourians.

The “perimeter rule” restricts the number of flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) beyond a 1,250-mile radius. Since Missouri is within a 1,250-mile radius, these government restrictions make traveling to Washington, D.C. unnecessarily expensive and inconvenient due to limited competition. This regulation severely restricts our ability to affordably travel to our nation’s capital.

With competition artificially suppressed and choices limited for air travel, the price for plane tickets into Washington, D.C. are unnecessarily expensive. In fact, the Washington, D.C. region has the highest ticket prices for any metropolitan area in the country, with travel to and from Dulles International Airport (IAD), costing passengers an average of nearly $500 per ticket.

The government needs to lift restrictions and allow free market principles to dictate the price of airfare in the region. Manipulating competition favors one airline and one airport, leaving Missouri families, students, and business leaders with unaffordable access to Washington, D.C.

I encourage Senators Hawley and Schmitt, as well as the entire Missouri delegation, to support additional flights at DCA as a part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. There is a bipartisan proposal in the works that would add four new flights, which is a reasonable compromise from the 28 new flights originally proposed in the U.S. House. The proposal also only adds flights – it does not take them away. Missourians only stand to benefit from updating this policy.

It is critical that we, as Republicans, support legislation that promotes competition and personal choice. The free market is the foundation of sound economic policy, and the freedom to choose is a key component. Missourians deserve to reap its benefits, and that includes air travel. It is time to modernize this protectionist policy that is taking the power away from the American consumer.

Our location should not mean limited and unaffordable access. Missourians should be able to fly into DCA, without worrying about cost or convenience. I encourage the Missouri delegation and all Members of Congress to support the additional flights at DCA as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill. Missouri and the rest of the country are counting on you.