YOU KNEW IT was only a matter of time until the airlines and certain jet-hop w0094 ----- r b BC-05/27/83-1-EDIT 05-27 0001 National: Perks, Piques and Peaks
YOU KNEW IT was only a matter of time until the airlines and certain jet-hopping congressmen would taxi in to oppose the latest effort by the Department of Transportation to do something modest and sensible about future traffic at National Airport. Sure enough, even though this proposal by Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole would not affect a single flight now in operation at National, four members of a House subcommittee couldn't stand to let well enough alone. Rejecting her plea for a reduced future limit on the number of passengers using National, these members sided instead with the airlines that connect them with their front- line congressional parking spots at the airport. The vote was 4 to 2.
Still, other House members who appreciate Mrs. Dole's efforts to strike a balance between National and Dulles air traffic have opportunities to defeat this meddlesome move. The legislative language has been tucked into an appropriations bill, and if it is rubber-stamped by the full committee, members should reject it on the floor vote.
Besides the way it is being handled, the language is bad on several other counts. First, safety and sanity considerations point to the wrongness of allowing too much growth in air traffic from current levels; Secretary Dole's plan would allow some growth. Also, the compromise she is pursuing is a logical follow-up to the rational policy on National Airport pursued on a bipartisan basis over the last two administrations.
This is not a battle between a ground-em-all claque of local residents and those who support convenient travel. It is the difference between a reasonable compromise that preserves the status quo and protects the future--and a selfish congressional intervention that disregards sound federal policy and reasonable local worries.