Madison leaders to ask Air Force to reconsider bringing F-35s to Truax

UPDATE (WKOW) — After hours of conversation, the Madison Common Council has decided to ask the Air Force to reconsider placing their F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field, according to Alder Tag Evers.

The meeting hosted public comment, mostly calling for the common council to oppose the jets.

Two possible resolutions were brought to the table. One, declaring the common council doesn’t want the jets at Truax Field due to noise. The other, acknowledging the noise concerns, but also pointing out the economic benefits, giving the Air Force the chance to mitigate any concerns. The final resolution combines language from the two.

Ultimately, it’s not up to the Common Council or local government to make a decision on the future of F-35s in Madison. The council’s decision is another public comment the Air Force will weigh before making the final decision in February of 2020.


MADISON (WKOW) — On Tuesday evening, members of Madison’s Common Council took up a resolution declaring their position on the possibility of F-35A jets coming to Truax Field.

The council took up the issue after alders Grant Foster and Rebecca Kemble, who represent parts of Madison’s north side,drafted a resolutioncalling on the Common Council to outright oppose the beddown of F-35s in Madison due to noise concerns expressed in theenvironmental impact statement (EIS).

By the time the issue came before the council, alder Barbara Harrington-Kinney had drafted her own version of the resolution taking a more conditional approach.

Harrington-Kinney’s resolution acknowledges the economic impact of the 115th Fighter Wing and the benefits F-35s would bring as well as the concerns in the EIS. It goes on to call for the council to demand the Air Force consider the concerns in the EIS and offer solutions. The resolution states if the city feels these concerns are not adequately addressed, the council would then oppose the beddown of F-35s.

The meeting brought out dozens of speakers, hoping to sway council members on this issue. Most of those speakers were in favor of the stronger of the two resolutions.

Susan Pastor, who lives on the northeast side, came out to speak on the issue and said she was disappointed a second resolution was proposed in the first place.

“I think it’s disingenuous to ask the Guard to quote, ‘seriously consider the negative impacts,'” she said. “They considered, the EIS is their consideration. They don’t care. We’re still in the running.”

Many of Pastor’s neighbors also brought up concerns that anymitigation effortswouldn’t be enough to make the areas deemed “incompatible for residential use” more compatible and they wouldn’t have any impact on the outside environment.

“People live in this neighborhood and there are schools and there are children and people, sound mitigation has been discussed,” Jenny Capillaro, another eastside resident said. “How do you mitigate sound in playgrounds or for people who want to enjoy their yards in their gardens?”

After the lengthy public comment session, two F-16 pilots from the 115th Fighter Wing were available for questions from alders.

Lt. Col. Charles Markel told the council, despite rumors that the F-35 jets would be four times louder than the F-16s the Fighter Wing currently flies, most people living in Madison would not experience that level of sound.

“Based on my research levels on noise and decibel levels of various fighters, I believe the change in volume from the F-16 to the F-35 would be less than three decibels in most locations, undetectable to most people,” he said.

Markel went on to explain that the Fighter Wing would not dramatically change or increase the number of flights they currently run if F-35s came to Madison.

He also explained that the 115th Fighter Wing’s current F-16 jets are nearing the end of their life, which is why they were an ideal candidate for the F-35 program.

Markel said the F-16s likely have a maximum of 10 more years left of flying and once they’re aged out, if the Fighter Wing does not replace them with F-35s, it’s likely they’ll lose their flying mission and see downsizing on the base. Truax Field supports more than 1200 jobs.

More at WKOW 27 News

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