Madison Common Council set to discuss resolution that would oppose F-35 basing

F-35 US Aircraft fighter jet, Photo Date: August 27, 2009 Photo: mashleymorgan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- The Madison Common Council is set to discuss a proposed resolution that would ask the Air National Guard not to base at F-35 jets at Truax Field, according to city documents Saturday.

If the Council passes the proposed resolution, the Council would be officially making it known to the public that it "opposes the selection of Truax Field in Madison, WI as a preferred location" and asks the Air Force to not base the military jets at the 115th Wisconsin Air National Guard's base at Truax Field," according to the resolution.

However, the decision to base the jets at Truax Field in the end rests with the U.S. Air Force. Resolutions just allow the Madison Common Council to make its opinions known for public record.

The proposed resolution comes after the Council passed its first resolution regarding the F-35s back in September of 2019. That resolution asked the Air Force for more information on the F-35 basing, and its affects on the community. The Council not did officially oppose the basing that time - unlike Saturday's proposed resolution.

Basing the F-35s at Truax has become a divisive issue in Madison. Some say the jets unfairly affect residents who live near Truax, who may deal with increased noise and the potential for home properties to decease in value, if the jets do come.

Meanwhile, others say the jets - and the jobs they might bring - would be a welcomed boost to the local economy.

The proposed resolution comes over a month after the Air Force released its final "Environmental Impact Statement" (EIS), which identified Madison as one of two preferred locations for the jets to be based.

The EIS further expanded on how the jets might affect the community and the environment - perhaps answering some of the Council's initial questions outlined in their first resolution. According to the EIS, the jets would "significantly" increase noise levels for neighbors, and have a "disproportionate" impact on low-income neighborhoods surrounding Truax Field.

According to the proposed resolution:

"The Final EIS released on February 18, 2020, confirms the significant environmental impacts identified in the Draft EIS, including substantially reduced quality and quantity of current affordable housing stock, decreased value of the property tax base, reduced opportunities for Transit-Oriented Development, ongoing soil, ground and surface water PFAS contamination violations by the ANG, significant adverse health effects that disproportionately affect children, residents who are low income and people of color."

It is for those reasons that the resolution asks the Air Force to look elsewhere with its F-35 jets.

The resolution's sponsors are: alders Rebecca Kemble, Syed Abbas, Tag Evers, Grant Foster, Patrick W. Heck, Marsha A. Rummel and Lindsay Lemmer.

The Madison Common Council is scheduled to discuss the proposed resolution during next Tuesday's meeting.