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Published: Wednesday, 4/27/2005

Ohio House asks Congress to spare Toledo Air Guard base

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - The Ohio House yesterday unanimously adopted a resolution urging Congress to spare the Toledo Air National Guard Base from a list of military installations targeted for closing.

A similar resolution, sponsored by Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), passed the Senate last month. Neither is binding on Congress, which will have the final up-or-down say on the entire list of bases recommended for closing.

On May 16, the Pentagon is expected to release preliminary recommendations for closing a quarter of the nation's 400 military installations to save more than $3 billion. A final list, after passing through a base-closing panel and the White House, must reach Congress by Sept. 23.

The base at Toledo Express Airport is home to the Ohio Air National Guard 180th Fighter Wing, which flies F-16C/D Fighting Falcon jet fighters.

"The 180th fighter wing was the first combat unit in the air to respond to the plane that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," said Rep. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills), sponsor of the House resolution.

"The base has proved an outstanding return on investment with the cost of base operations at approximately $21 million annually," he said. "By comparison, this amount is significantly lower than other similarly situated bases. The base is estimated to have a $71 million impact on the Toledo-area economy."

Some 1,343 jobs are associated with the base.



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