Air Force officials have passed Boise over for its controversial F-35 stealth fighter jet mission.
The jets should arrive at Truax Field just north of Madison, Wisconsin and Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama sometime in 2023.
City and state lawmakers in Boise heavily backed the push, including funding a $100,000 public relations campaign to boost the profile of the mission.
“We’re disappointed, obviously, but I know personally and I know from our community, we left nothing on the playing field – that we did everything we could,” says Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.
But residents living near Gowen Field worried the much louder jets would plummet their property values and potentially damage their health.
Opposition group Citizens for a Livable Boise applauded the news. In a statement, its president, Dan Marler, says the Idaho Air National Guard should focus on more environmentally-friendly missions like cargo planes or drone research.
"Another possible option is Cybersecurity which the Air Force would like to see more of and could provide valley wide business and educational growth potential," Marler says."
Gowen Field currently hosts a squadron of A-10 Warthog jets. The Air Force has proposed extending the life of these jets for the next five fiscal years, but it still requires congressional funding.
Despite the setback, Bieter says he thinks a fighter jet mission will still call the Treasure Valley home.
“We feel good about our chances over time. I believe that we will have an F-35 someday in the future, but [it’s] really hard to know the timings of that and the A-10 as well.”
The Air Force also overlooked Boise as a preferred alternative for the mission should the bases in Alabama and Wisconsin fall through.
Instead, they chose military base in Fort Worth, Texas, though it's not clear why. Air Force officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Find news director James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson
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