In an effort to increase the number of flights coming into and out of the nation’s capital, Republican Rep. Burgess Owens and Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia introduced a bill that would allow more flights to land at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Owens, who represents Utah’s 4th District, told the Deseret News he hopes the change will mean less expensive and more convenient air travel for Utah travelers.

Because of 1960s-era restrictions on the number of flights that can come into and fly out of the airport if they’re coming from more than 1,250 miles away, travel into and out of the airport is more expensive and difficult than to other airports.

With an over 2,000-mile distance between Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C., flights in and out of Utah have been affected by the limit.

While Owens said there is no guarantee that the Salt Lake City International Airport would get one of the additional 28 slots added by the bill, he said he hopes it will turn out that way.

“My hope, my goal, particularly because of how cutting edge the Salt Lake City airport is, we think we will get one of those slots,” he said.

He also has a personal reason for wanting better and cheaper cross-country air travel — he said he wants his children and grandchildren to be able to come see him in the nation’s capital, but “pricing has been a big deal.” He said he hopes the additional flights will make it cheaper and more convenient to travel to the Northeast.

“This will just allow that competitive edge to come in and more people can afford to come,” he said.

Many members of Congress, including Owens, travel back and forth between Washington and their home districts frequently, and a “packed” airport makes that more difficult, he said.

Owens’ bill received support from fellow Utah Republican lawmakers Rep. Blake Moore, who represents Utah’s 1st District, and Sen. Mike Lee.

“Government by the people should be accessible by the people,” said Lee, in a press release. “More options will reduce ticket prices and generate millions in economic benefits, making our nation’s capital more accessible and affordable for all Americans.”

Owens said he isn’t sure what the timeline is or if the bill would be approved this year, but said the bill is getting a lot of support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who would like to be able to get home quicker to their families after a full workweek.

“My colleagues congratulated me and just asked me to continue to fight for this because it makes everybody’s life easier when you think about those who come here often,” he said.

Owens’ bill also has support from Salt Lake City International Airport Executive Director Bill Wyatt, according to the press release.