Eileen Andreoli: Surprising Similarities Between The EB-5 And F-35 Programs
With his recent reversal of his support of the EB-5 program, Sen. Patrick Leahy seemed to declare that he has realized the errors of his ways. His denouncement of the program is admission that the EB-5 project is corrupt and has harmed both the investors and everyday Vermonters.
Now is the time for Leahy to also acknowledge the same regarding his support of the F-35 basing in Vermont!
Similar to the political contributions that Leahy collected from the EB-5 investors, he has accepted thousands of dollars from Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the over-budget and poorly performing F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet.
Just as with the EB-5 program, he has been slow to admit the waste and fraud of the F-35s, as well as the irresponsibility of the decision to base this flawed warplane in the midst of our densely populated residential populations.
Recently it was announced by the Government Accountability Office that there are serious and continuous F-35 computer glitches that may ground the entire fleet Yet the Air Force recently delivered the unwelcome news that it is accelerating the timetable for the new warplanes to arrive in Vermont! Certainly this is a time to slow down the scheduled arrival of this flawed warplane, not speed it up!
The question of the safety of those living near the Burlington Airport that will base this problem-riddled, immature aircraft is of enormous concern. But equally alarming is the projected negative impact on the economy of Chittenden County from the basing.
According to the USAF, There will be a … “Positive effect for all locations except Burlington, where the potential decrease in property values due to increased noise is not expected to be overcome by the expected increase in positive economic impacts to the community.” (USAF AR00061560)
What politician in his right mind would sacrifice the health of the economic engine of the entire state, especially when Vermont is struggling to keep itself afloat under the weight of massive deficits?
Now is the time for Sen. Leahy to use basic common sense, untainted and uninfluenced by campaign contributors and special interests, and reverse his support of basing the first round of F-35s in Vermont, just as he has reversed his support of the EB-5 program.
Sen. Leahy must compel the USAF to delay the basing for this first round, and request that the first F-35s be restricted to the remote and specially equipped Air Force bases only. This will allow this minimally flight-tested warplane to prove it is safe enough to call Vermont its home.
With all the projected harm that will come to our state from the F-35s, Sen. Leahy needs to act now to protect Vermonters from the F-35s, just as he is doing with the EB-5 program.
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