Chamber praises city’s vote on F-35s

The Madison Common Council’s early-morning Sept. 18 vote to reject a resolution outright opposing the basing of F-35 jets at Truax Field was a strong statement in favor of the community’s long-term economic health, according to Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce.

While the Council also voted 16–3 in favor of a second resolution asking the military to reconsider its designation of Madison as a preferred basing site if the concerns raised by Madison residents cannot be addressed, Brandon says the vote on the other resolution sent a message of support to the 115th Fighter Wing, which is based at Truax.

Without the modernized F-35 jets to replace existing F-16 aircraft, the base and its roughly 1,200 jobs could be lost, say proponents of the proposed plan. “The long-term health of the 115th is vital to our economy and our community, and basing the F-35A at Truax Field will protect the livelihoods of the 1,200 airmen — our friends, neighbors, and guardians — who currently work there,” Brandon states.

The Council vote followed a Sept. 12 public hearing, at which a preliminary environmental impact statement (EIS) was presented. The EIS provided noise-contour maps for potentially affected neighborhoods near Dane County Regional Airport, where Truax is located.

At last week’s public hearing and at the Tuesday, Sept. 17 Council meeting, many east-side residents expressed concern for heightened levels of noise associated with the F-35s, but Brandon has asserted that Madison has done a good job with noise abatement throughout the Fighter Wing’s 71-year history in Madison.