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Trump administration proposes selling Dulles, Reagan airports

Courtesy Photo/MWAA
With a stunning plan to sell off federal assets, the Trump administration today proposed selling two of the three major airports serving the nation's capital: Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County and Reagan National in Arlington.

It was not immediately clear what public or private entity might buy the airports, which are leased from the federal government. Though owned by the federal government, both airports are operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority under a long-term lease agreement.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, both run by the National Park Service, are also listed as “examples of assets for potential divestiture” in the infrastructure plan. The Washington Aqueduct, which supplies drinking water in Washington and northern Virginia, is also on the list.

Power transmission assets from the Tennessee Valley Authority; the Southwestern Power Administration, which sells power in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas; the Western Area Power Administration; and the Bonneville Power Administration, covering the Pacific northwest, were cited for potential divestiture.

“The Federal Government owns and operates certain infrastructure that would be more appropriately owned by state, local, or private entities,” the Trump plan says. It calls for giving federal agencies “authority to divest of Federal assets where the agencies can demonstrate an increase in value from the sale would optimize the taxpayer value.”

The Trump proposal is consistent with an overall $200 billion infrastructure initiative, a year in the making, that is focused on speeding up permitting by reducing environmental regulations, and trying to prompt state and local governments and private industry to spend more on projects without making major new federal investments.

The proposed sell-off surprised state officials, who said they were uncertain about how their residents would benefit from such a proposal. Federal assets come with crucial federal dollars that could not easily be replaced, officials said.

“All I can see now is a federal obligation that they’re trying to push off. Where would we get the money from without a revenue source?” said Virginia Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) criticized the infrastructure plan as part of an agenda by the president to “take credit for investments while sticking states and localities with the bill. On Twitter, Warner said that selling property like the airports and the George Washington Parkway would only mean higher costs for the traveling public.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who was in Loudoun County Monday, said it would be premature for him to comment on the proposal because he has yet to see the details.

"We've been very supportive of Dulles, as you know," Northam said. "Last year we put $50 million into Dulles in state taxpayers' money."

Northam was among a group of governors who met with President Trump in Washington earlier in the day.


Derp State - why are you so darn angry?

@enough   I wasn’t looking for proof of anything.  I was and am asking for specific examples of MWAA mismanagement.  MWAA manages both DCA and IAD.  Why are higher landing fees (I am assuming you are correct) at IAD an example of mismanagement?

Dear Debbie - Dulles Landing fee is 50% higher than Nationals - is that proof enough or would you like more?

Derp State, taken your country back in November? I guess that means increasing our taxes, weakening the military, and unfettered illegal immigration? If that’s the case, don’t hold your breath on “getting your country back”.

@tw329 or anyone else “these airports are mismanaged bad [by MWAA]”  I am just curious if there are any specific examples of bad mismanagement by MWAA you could provide?  NOT generalities please Thanks

The third-string team we have occupying the White House can’t pull off any of these ideas.  They know how to throw bombs and fire up their base but run a government and get something done?  Thankfully, they’re completely inept.

This November we begin taking our country back

How about Dan Snyder?  They charge about the same for parking…

Sell it to Amazon.

Have you ever flown through Dulles?  Terminal C is a D.U.M.P….  Sell it.

Hilarious, Trump makes a proposal and Liberal’s heads explode.


We see how privatizing prisons went. I have to wonder what they would hike the tolls up to.  Trump is conniving, he wants the rich to own everything and us to have to pay to use it. So, he sells off public park land to his friends, airports, parkways, power our access to drinking water and probably anything he thinks will turn a profit regardless of how it effects the people. Once privately owned we will have no say on the cost of use and be paying a fortune if this happens. All that with no guarantees that improvements will be made ever! Great infrastructure plan.
Before they sell off anything they should have a set of rules and regulations that protect the people in the areas that are affected by anything that is sold to private companies. Something that limits costs, and insures maintenance.

Lawman - Do any of your posts not obsess about racism?

Hey Warner, Let me get this straight.  Its ok to loose money for the federal government but not state?  These airports are mismanaged bad so it could only get better.  Close DCA and no more noise and security issues! Oh you’ll lose your perk of free parking. This is long over due on all this libtards!

Fabulous plan!  This is the way to cut taxes and make things much more balanced than they are.  The government (taxpayers) cannot afford to keep supporting the world. Look out…much need change is coming down the pike (or toll road :-) ) Just another benefit…private industry can get things done without the red tap and the bureaucratic delays.  Just look at the Dulles Toll Road…a life saver for communters…planned and funded privately!  If we were to wait on the government…we still wouldn’t have the toll road!

So, at the current rate, we are making $1,200/acre ($15.85M/13,000) per year in tax revenue off the airport.  What a dog.

If the land was fallow with nothing on it we’d get more than $1,200 an acre and wouldn’t have the infrastructure costs that go with the airport. If we had a single family house on an acre we’d get 4x from the land than we are getting right now.  We are royally getting ripped off by Dulles airport.

Virtually anything we do with this property would be more valuable to Loudoun than a government airport.

Sell it now!  Sell it now!  Sell it now!

Speaking of private infrastructure, how’s the Dulles Greenway working out for everyone?

Sittingonrt15, you are a life time Gop’er just like Barrack Obama is. Save it. If you had had any clue what the GOP stands for then you’d understand what this is all about. Taken the tax burden away from the taxpayer, shrinking government. That’s what it’s about.

Good idea—one way to get rid of the government goons running the show now…

For a point of reference, I asked the Commissioner of the Revenue (Bob Wertz) a year ago about how much tax revenue the airport generated for Loudoun.  It is a pittance.  Here are the answers:

2016 Tax Revenue

Real Estate Tax on Leasehold Interest: $1,745,528.57
Business License, Mixed Beverage & Transient Occupancy Taxes: $2,271,019
Retail Sales Tax: $4,952,553
Daily Motor Vehicle Rental Tax: $5,516,457
Business Tangible Personal Property Tax: $1,344,094
Personal Property Tax on Aircraft: $24,650
Total CY16 Dulles Airport Generated Tax Revenue: $15,854,301.57

Now, if that 13,000 acres of Dulles was a data center (or just part of the 13,000 acres), Loudoun’s revenue would be in the billions of dollars.

If they sell both airports, then MWAA ceases to exist.  So, 1) we’d get a private organization that will right-size the airport and turn a profit (and pay taxes to the County) and 2) we’d get rid of a failing quasi-government slush fund of sub-par performers (MWAA).  Woo-hoo!

When you start thinking of the domino effect this would have, it is quite amazing.  For instance, can we get rid of the Dulles Toll Road (run by MWAA) tolls?

There could be an incredible amount of modernization and development in/around the airport if it was sold to private interests.

It is an amazing possibility.

Great idea. W’ll sell it to Trip II, and when they jack up the prices, Ron Meyer can run on a platform to build a competitor right next to it at taxpayer’s expense.

Praying for Mueller - We know ANYTHING Trump does you will hate.

Let’s also include VA selling their ABC stores.

The only groups that can afford it are foreign companies. I am sure the racists and xenophobs in Loudoun will be howling when they find out the Saudi’s own Dulles and/or National

Praying for Mueller, I hope you are holding your breath. Keep praying, you need it.

The Big Orange Cheeto is ruining this country piece by piece…what a dolt.

Life long GOPer but I’ve got to say, this guy is an idiot.

One can just imagine the sweetheart deal Trump’s government would give one of his cronies.  This is exactly how Putin got so rich in Russia.  If you love the way the Greenway operates, you’ll really love this scam.

At last, our chance to close the Congressional parking lot at National! Shut down the airport, move the flights to Dulles, and transfer the land to Amazon for HQ2.

BRILLIANT! Anyone other than the federal government would have to pay property taxes to Loudoun and Fairfax!!!! MWAA would have to pay tax to Loudoun as well. I suggest our representatives ESPECIALLY the ones running for Congress jump on this idea and bring it to fruition. Adding Dulles Airport to our tax flow would eliminate all the funding concerns about having LCPS as a top notch school system. Somebody please explain this to Northam.
Bob Ohneiser Esq.

Great Idea!!! A private company is likely to run it at a profit and get this burden off the tax payers.

Since the other article said we need more land for more data centers, well, here is another miracle from The Cloud. 

Turn the airport into a giant data center and save the rest of the county.

Northam said. “Last year we put $50 million into Dulles in state taxpayers’ money.”

Yeah, which is why the sooner we sell it, the better.  Dulles has been a never-ending recipient of public welfare since its inception. 

Additionally, it is a bad airport that needs a government monopoly to survive.


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