Dallas Mayor Rebuffs Fellow Mayors' Attempt To Keep Wright In Place

Dallas Mayor Laura Miller recently rejected a plea from a coalition of other Texas officials to support keeping the Wright Amendment intact, but an Easterwood Airport official said he hopes the group will continue to pursue negotiations.

The Wright Amendment, a controversial law that limits flights out of Dallas Love Field, is being debated at the committee level in the Texas Legislature.

Bryan Mayor Ernie Wentrcek and College Station Mayor Ron Silvia were part of a coalition of 12 communities whose representatives -- including 10 mayors -- signed a letter to Miller asking for a meeting to discuss the Wright Amendment. The mayors don't want the law to be repealed because the limitations on Love Field's services create more opportunities for smaller airports to pick up the flights Love Field isn't permitted to operate.

Southwest Airlines, the primary airline that operates out of Love Field, opposes the law and has lobbied against it.

Easterwood Airport Administrator John Happ, also a College Station councilman, said repealing the amendment would have a huge impact on Easterwood, which has an annual ridership of about 70,000.

In an article published May 4 in The Dallas Morning News, Miller responded to pleas made by the mayoral coalition by saying that her top priority was finding a solution that suits the constituents in Dallas and Fort Worth, not meeting with mayors from other cities.

Miller was out of town until Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. Her public information officer, Meranda Carter Cohn, said she did not feel comfortable commenting on the mayor's behalf.

"The response was not acceptable," Happ said. "It was not a proper response."

Happ, who has testified on behalf of American Airlines in a Senate aviation subcommittee hearing, said he thinks it's imperative that the mayoral coalition continue fighting for the Wright Amendment to be left alone.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

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