Anchorage chamber head doesn’t back jet move

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The head of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce does not support moving a fighter squadron from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

Anchorage Chamber President Andrew Halcro, a former legislator and gubernatorial candidate, said the proposed move doesn’t make sense, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

He told the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce this week that the state’s largest city already has a waiting list of 4,000 people for affordable housing, and homes costing less than $500,000 don’t last long on the market.

The Air Force wants to move the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The proposal is in the form of a draft Environmental Impact State, which says the Air Force estimates saving more than $200 million with the move. About 1,200 military personnel and their families would have to relocate to Anchorage.

A final draft is due later this year.

Halcro compared this transfer to moving the capital from Juneau, and said both would be crippling for Alaska’s regional economies.

“I think a number of people don’t have any grasp of what makes the economy run,” he said.

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