CONTRARY TO popular belief in certain corners of Capitol Hill, there are many members of Congress who actually believe in a reasonable policy for the future of National Airport. And today in the House, if enough of them will reject any foolish amendments to the contrary, survival is possible for a perfectly acceptable administration plan that is backed by every city, state and local official of any consequence in this region.
At last count, Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) had gathered the signatures of more than 135 colleagues on a letter urging rejection of any restrictive National Airport amendments to the transportation appropriations bill that is scheduled for floor consideration today. Also signed up on this and a similar letter circulated by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) are Govs. John N. Dalton (R-Va.) and Harry Hughes (D-Md.), the four senators of these two states, Mayor Barry and suburban county officials and many area business and civic leaders.
Too often in the past, the selfish interests of a few usually airborne members of Congress have sabotaged any attempts to control noise and future growth at National because these members expect and enjoy unlimited airline service for themselves. When they aren't trying to bully an administration into allowing more planes in and out, they're proposing studies-- which is the thin code for a big stall.
It happens that between Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been studies of National off and on and over again for the last 16 years. Now, at last, there are proposals from Secretary of Transportation Drew Lewis that represent a compromise acceptable to more disparate groups than any other set of plans in recent memory. By rejecting any tinker-and-destroy efforts in Congress, House members can take a stand for a responsibly drafted plan that deserves to fly.