Burlington, Vt., Mayor Miro Weinberger on Tuesday said he would need 20 days to decide whether to ask the Air Force to scrap its plan to bring 18 F-35 fighter jets to the Vermont Air National Guard base at Burlington International Airport, after the city council the previous day voted 9-3 to approve a resolution requesting the service find an alternative mission. Residents rejected the F-35 basing plan in a ballot referendum on March 6 primarily due to concerns the fifth-generation combat aircraft would be too loud and could pose a safety threat in a densely populated area.
“The mayor has been exploring the possible ramifications of the city taking the action requested by the voters, and has been asking for answers to some of the new questions and concerns raised in the days leading up to the vote,” a spokesperson for Weinberger told VTDigger.
Since the city council vote, Vermont’s governor and congressional delegation said they would continue to support bringing the F-35 to Burlington. “We’re going to welcome the F-35 to Vermont and I look forward to it coming to Vermont. It is a good economic tool for us to have them based here,” Gov. Phil Scott (R) said during a Statehouse press conference Tuesday.
VTDigger photo by Bob LoCicero