Madison mayor asks Pentagon to reconsider listing Truax for F-35 location

Madison mayor asks Pentagon to reconsider listing Truax for F-35 location
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Friday marks the deadline for the public comment period for the F-35s coming to Madison, and Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is asking the Pentagon to reconsider listing Truax Field as the preferred location to house F-35 fighter jets.

In the 22-page document sent Friday, Rhodes-Conway said the environmental impact statement understated significant impacts on low-income residents and communities of color living near Truax.

“If preferred locations, such as Madison, are known to have significant negative impacts as shown in the final (environmental impact study), the (Air Force) must be prepared to prevent and/or fully mitigate those impacts. Absent that, it will not be possible for me to support the selection of Madison.”

She also listed water contamination, noise and other environmental issues as top concerns. Last month an environmental impact statement published by the Air Force indicated noise pollution would be significant, and impact 1,000 east side homes near the airport as the Air Force transitions from the F-16 to the F-35. The statement said noise from the jets would render more than 1,000 homes incompatible for residential use.

U.S. Representative Mark Pocan said in a taping of “For the Record” in the News 3 Now studios Friday that the Air Force should pay for soundproofing for the homes affected.

“The Air Force says that Air Force funds can’t go toward a non-Air Force purpose,” Pocan said. “But I think if you’ve caused a problem for homeowners, we have to make sure people are taken care of.”

The state Senate and Assembly passed a resolution in early October supporting the F-35 fighter jets at Truax. The Assembly resolution’s main authors, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Tony Kurtz, argued that placing F-35s at Truax would ensure that the base remains open, and called the concerns over noise exaggerated.

Public comments about the proposed F-35s can be submitted online through Friday by clicking here.

Pocan’s interview on “For the Record” airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on News 3 Now.

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