Burlington-area business leaders show support for F-35s

Published: Apr. 24, 2018 at 4:02 PM EDT
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Some Chittenden County business leaders are making a case for a controversial fighter jet.

The city councils in Burlington, Winooski and South Burlington say they do not support basing the Air Force's latest fighter jet, the F-35, in Vermont. The Air Force says it's coming in fall 2019.

Area business leaders told WCAX News they think by asking for an alternative mission for the Vermont Air Guard, the cities have essentially asked for base closure. And they say that would be devastating.

"If the Air National Guard had to shed 1,000 jobs, they would be transferred out of this area. They would go somewhere else; we would lose 1,000 families and 1,000 taxpayers and all the economic benefit that goes with it," said Frank Cioffi, the president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation.

Business leaders also pointed out the Guard brings economic benefits to the Burlington International Airport, as well. They say having the Guard's firefighters cover the airport saves the airport about $2.7 million each year.

Opponents say the planes are too loud and the Air Force could find an alternative.