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Madison's Truax Field to recoup millions in border wall funds
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Madison's Truax Field to recoup millions in border wall funds

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Madison’s Truax Field will recover an estimated $10 million in federal funds that were diverted almost two years ago by former President Donald Trump, federal officials announced Friday.

President Joe Biden’s administration, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, announced that more than $2 billion in remaining military construction funds will be returned to 66 projects across 11 states, three territories and 16 countries, including funds to Wisconsin for the construction of a small arms weapons range at the 115th Fighter Wing’s Truax Field.

Follow along as Phil Hands shows you how he draws a recent editorial cartoon. 

About $8 million in funding was diverted from Truax Field back in 2019 to help pay for border barriers as part of Trump’s national emergency declaration. On Friday, the White House said Wisconsin is slated to receive about $10.5 million for the project, with the increase in funds likely due to an increase in the project’s cost.

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“The Biden Administration is committed to properly equipping American military personnel and caring for their families,” a document from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget states. “Under the agency plans for border wall funds, no more money will be diverted for the purposes of building a border wall, and (the Department of Defense) has started canceling all border barrier projects using the diverted funds.”

State officials were notified by the National Guard Bureau in September 2019 that the funds allocated to the base’s small arms range would be diverted for border fencing purposes. Truax Field was the only Wisconsin project to see funds diverted and the money was originally set to be awarded in March 2020.

Maj. Joe Trovato, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin National Guard, said design parameters for the project have changed since 2019 and a new design instruction was issued last month.

“The 115th Fighter Wing has been funded to design the project to new standards and is working towards awarding the Small Arms Range construction project by Sept. 30, 2022, subject to the availability of funds,” Travato said Friday.

State Journal readers debate the F-35 fighter jet coming to Madison

A collection of letters to the editor about the prospect of the 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard operating the new F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison.  

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As a businessperson and a resident of the North Side of Madison I am highly supportive of the F-35 project because it would assure the continuation of our Air National Guard 115th Wing at Truax Field. This tremendous community asset provides economic impact, valuable emergency services, and the employment of more than 1,200 military and civilian personnel.

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I appreciate State Journal's coverage of the proposal to bring F-35 fighter jets to Truax Field. I am a nurse serving a neighborhood adjacent to the airport and am deeply concerned about the public health implications of this program.

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Letter to the editor: "It's about Truax Field, the 115th Fighter Wing and protecting of all the citizens of the United States and our neighbors to the north and south. Strategically, we are in an optimum location to do this."

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Imagine our government putting a factory next to your house that emits randomly up to 121 decibels of window rattling noise, lowers your property values, and has a chance of spraying your yard with fuel oil or blowing up and perhaps taking out a large swath of our town. Also imagine this factory has helped pollute one of our city's wells enough that it had to be closed.

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To all of the people who live near the airport and are upset about the F-35s -- if you bought you home after 1939, you knew the airport was there.

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Letter to the editor: Forget the noise (although it is torture for those of us with tinnitus). An inconceivable amount of our money -- more than a trillion of our tax dollars -- is being used to build machines whose sole purpose is to kill and destroy. 

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Letter to the editor: "I care about a clean environment, but I care about people and jobs more."

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I read Pat Richter's opinion piece, "Just another weekend for the 115th Fighter Wing," in the Aug. 26 State Journal, and it was very good. However, it did not address why we East Side residents are concerned about the F-35s: the noise factor and our quality of life.

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Is it wise to render entire neighborhoods uninhabitable? Is it wise to lower the quality of life with noise-related stress and health risks? Is it wise to cause properties to devalue for entire communities of homeowners?

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For the last 40 years I've had a quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower on my refrigerator door. It is from his "Cross of Iron" farewell message, which he delivered at the end of his presidency. In it, he warned that the military industrial complex will impoverish our country, spending our wealth on guns, warships and rockets. His warning has gone unheeded pretty much up to now.

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Letter to the editor: "The plan to bring F-35 fighter jets to Madison's Truax Field raises many concerns."

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We are very disappointed in the many Madison and Dane County elected officials who have failed to state their views on the proposed F-35s at the Dane County Regional Airport.

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While I understand why some residents may welcome F-35s at Truax Field, I question whether it makes sense to intensify aircraft activity in and out of this base, which is now in the midst of a large and growing urban population.

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I would like to show my support for the 115th Fighter Wing and for them being selected for the F-35 mission. The people who work there are good members of our community.

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If you support our armed forces like I do, please consider showing your support for the F-35 expansion coming to Madison. A small yet vocal contingent is willing to do anything in their power to shut down this golden opportunity for our community.

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Wednesday's letter to the editor "Fighter wing is key asset to state" gushed enthusiastically about the possibility of having F-35s based here in Madison, calling their thunderous racket “the sound of freedom.”

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I strongly support the Wisconsin Air National Guard 115th Fighter Wing getting the F-35 fighter jets.

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I have lived within a few minutes of Truax Field in Madison for over 35 years. Our home is in the flight path of the planes and jets flying in and out of the airport. The noise from the jets doesn’t bother us at all.

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The Air Force has released its draft environmental impact statement for locating a squadron of F-35A fighter jets at two locations.

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In 2016, President Obama visited Hiroshima and called “for a world without nuclear weapons.” We can contemplate this calling during the August anniversary of the horrendous bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of the suffering of the Japanese people there.

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People in our East Side neighborhoods are concerned about the possible use of Truax Field as headquarters for the F-35 fighter jets.

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Putting the F-35 fighters in Madison makes us more at risk of counter-strike targeting, not safer.

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