Owens: Greater DCA Access Benefits Businesses and Families with Increased Competition and Lower Costs

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, Congressman Burgess Owens (UT-04) penned an opinion piece for The Washington Times advocating for Utah — and the West — to have greater access to our nation’s capital, and detailing his latest push to create more and longer flights in and out of Washington. 

Greater DCA access benefits businesses and families with increased competition and lower costs
The Washington Times
Rep. Burgess Owens

On May 10, 1869, from Ogden, Utah, a telegraph operator named W.N. Shilling announced the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad with a single-word notice: “Done!”

As the meeting point for the rail lines connecting the two coasts for the first time in our nation’s history, Utah played a central role in the American economic miracle, the industrial revolution, and the rebirth of our Union post-Civil War.

More than a century later, our state remains a major hub for the Intermountain West region, boasting a prime geographic location, cutting-edge infrastructure, a pro-business environment, and a free market economy. With expansions at the Salt Lake International Airport, the 20th busiest airport in the nation, and the Utah Inland Port Authority, a one-of-a-kind development project connecting major national railways and multiple interstate freeways—Utah has become a world-class hub for travel, tourism, and industry.

To continue maximizing our regional economic impact and confront the challenges ahead, Utah—and the West—need a seat at the table in Washington, D.C. I am proud to be that voice as the first Utahn to serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in over 20 years. From responsibly managing water resources to ensuring today’s workforce is well-trained for the jobs of tomorrow and making travel more efficient, affordable, and accessible, we have made significant progress for Utah and the West.

Despite Utah being a major hub for the Intermountain West region and having a robust business environment, with leading voices in nearly every industry, the number of direct flights from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C., is severely limited compared to other major cities. A 60-year-old federally-imposed perimeter rule means that Washington, D.C., has some of the highest domestic ticket prices in the nation, squeezing consumers and limiting choices.

That’s why I’m leading the Direct Capital Access (DCA) Act, which aims to expand access and affordability for travelers commuting to D.C. The act will modernize the 60-year-old perimeter rule and add 7 flights at Reagan National Airport. It will also promote market competition, increase consumer choices, and lower airfare costs for families and businesses in Utah and across the nation traveling to and from Washington.

For growth to continue, we need a skilled workforce equipped to take on the jobs of tomorrow, like energy production. My district is home to Kennecott Copper Mine, the largest excavation and open-pit copper mine in the world. Utah is also home to the Spor Mountain Mine, the largest Beryllium producer worldwide, which harvests vital minerals for America’s aerospace, defense, and energy industries. That’s why I championed the Mining Schools Act, which aims to reverse a recent 21% decline in graduation rates for university and college mining and geological programs by supporting academic and professional programs that equip workers with the skills needed to compete in the global economy, unleashing American energy independence, and reducing our reliance on foreign adversaries for our energy needs.

Across the West, farmers, ranchers, and industries are experiencing the worst drought in over 1,200 years, necessitating a collaborative approach to water management. Local elected officials, community members, policymakers in Washington, and all stakeholders must cooperate to improve water conservation efforts and combat shortages.

To address water management and harness Utah’s innovative spirit, I supported the Water Data Act to replace out-of-date, hard-to-use information with real-time, accurate data to help communities in their ceaseless efforts to deliver and conserve water. I am also proud to support several initiatives to save the Great Salt Lake, like Rep. John Curtis’ Great Salt Lake Stewardship Act and our delegation’s Great Salt Lake Recovery Act, which bolster local efforts to preserve and maintain our state’s precious water resources amid historic drought conditions.

154 years ago, the golden spike was driven to link Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad in Utah, spurring American economic ingenuity and dynamism. Our state’s pioneering spirit, historical significance, and current economic standing highlight the need for strong representation in Washington, D.C. Together, we can ensure the Beehive State remains a driving force of American innovation into the 21st century.

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