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More pressure from Capitol Hill to lift VFR restrictionsMore pressure from Capitol Hill to lift VFR restrictions

Members of Congress are continuing to write and call the administration, urging policymakers to lift the ban on VFR flight around the 15 major cities.

Senator Max Cleland (D-Ga.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, wrote to President Bush that "this restriction of Class B airspace for VFR traffic is creating significant financial hardship for my constituents whose entire livelihoods are dependant upon this industry as well as those for whom general aviation is an integral part of their business." Senator Cleland also wrote that he hopes the president and his staff "will meet with advocates of general aviation such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association who have indicated an avid willingness to work with the FAA and the National Security Council to address national security concerns related to general aviation."

Representative John Tierney (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Boyer telling him he heard AOPA's message loud and clear. "Please know, and feel free to tell your members, that this office continues to be in contact with the agencies on this issue." Tierney said his office is working with the agencies toward a reasonable solution, keeping in mind that all decisions should be made with attention to security and safety.

Led by the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), six representatives from the Florida delegation—including Representatives Michael Bilirakis (R), Jim Davis (D), Dan Miller (R), Adam Putnam (R), and Karen Thurman (D), wrote a letter to President Bush about the impact the continued ban on VFR is having on small businesses. "We are concerned that the failure of these businesses will have a larger impact on many other businesses whom they are supporting. Therefore, we are writing to request that this matter be given immediate attention by the proper officials." Representative Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) sent a letter to FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and NSC Executive Secretary Stephen Biegun after meeting with a group of his constituents involved in general aviation. "Perhaps more than many other businesses in America today, general aviation businesses have been impacted by the recent restrictions.... The enhanced Class B airspace restrictions present unique problems in Washington state. The geography of the region restricts the north and south movement of VFR through Pudget Sound, thus limiting air transportation and business activities in the most populous part of the state."

Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) sent a letter to FAA Administrator Jane Garvey stating, "I realize I'm not an expert, but it does seem to me that a blanket ban of this sort is very hard to justify over a prolonged period. I can understand emergency measures of this sort, but we should be at the point now where we can implement procedures that would not penalize innocent people to this degree."

Representative Jane Harman (D-Calif.) also sent a letter to Administrator Garvey and attached several letters from her constituents who are affected by the VFR restrictions. "As Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee's subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, I am acutely aware of ongoing concerns and the need to maintain a high level of security, particularly at airports and in the surrounding airspace," Representative Harman wrote. "The need for the best possible security must, however, be balanced with the need to return our economy and society as close as possible to a normal state."

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