Resolution aims to soundproof homes near Truax Field, paid for with state funding

MADISON, Wis.– Protecting freedom isn’t free, and it isn’t quiet either. An environmental study shows living near Truax Field will likely get noisier when F-35 jets arrive in 2023, but local leaders have an idea to help homeowners out.

“They’re loud. In our house, they do shake the windows,” John McCracken said.

McCracken worries that won’t get any better with the arrival of the next generation fighter jets, but he doesn’t have many options living just three miles away.

“We would probably soundproof, but it feels like a band-aid,” McCracken said.

Madison Alder Michael Tierney wants to ask the state to use federal money it’s getting for the jets to help protect nearby homes.

“They’d be able to have their homes insulated and their windows replaced, etc. Anything to mitigate airport noise,” Tierney said.

Homeowners would then receive a tax credit for the entire expense.

“This is something we need to ask for,” Tierney said. “A refundable tax credit won’t happen if we don’t ask for it.”

It’s not cheap to keep the noise out.

“To reinsulate the walls and the attic of those places, you’re probably looking at a ballpark of maybe $3,500 to $4,000 a house,” Rockweiler Insulation Operations Manager Brian Auman said. “That may be a high budget ball park.”

Auman said that might not even get someone to 100 percent soundproof.

“It may do a little bit, but eliminating is going to certainly be a tough mountain to climb,” Auman said.

Which would mean spending a lot of money, and then waiting on a refund. Time that McCracken fears many of his neighbors couldn’t afford to spend.

“It’s loud here. It’s even louder toward the north side where there’s more concentrated housing complexes and communities of color,” McCracken said.

Tehmina Islam lives near Eken Park and said she is directly affected by the jets’ impacts. She said the F-35 jets shouldn’t be coming to Madison at all.

“It’s not enough for residents in this community to stay locked indoors of their soundproofed homes and not be able to open their windows, have their children play outside and not be damaged or harmed by the sound of the jets,” Islam said.

The Madison Economic Development committee is scheduled to review this proposed resolution Wednesday night. Tierney said it would likely take years before the tax credit refund is usable if approved.