Mountain Home Air Force Base Water Project Update; letters of support requested
MHAFB’s F-15 mission is critical to maintaining our national defense and provides an annual $760M economic impact to the city, county, and state. The Air Force has programmed the F-15 flying mission through 2040. MHAFB has the 2nd best Air Force training range in the nation. The installation has tremendous ramp space, and no air encroachment issues, making it a premier location for 5th generation fighter aircraft as well as expanded mission growth.
Additionally, the City of Mountain Home has made tremendous efforts locally to encourage mission success and potential expansion by investing in increased housing options, better education facilities, and increased job opportunities for service members. Nonetheless, there are certain items outside of the City’s control that will determine the future of MHAFB.
In order for MHAFB to continue its critical mission well into the future, it needs a secure water source. It is imperative the State of Idaho enters into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Air Force and constructs a pumphouse and pipeline. The state allocated $20M and an additional $7M is required to complete the state’s portion of this critical project. After the state constructs its portion of this project, we understand the state would then be able to turn it over to the Air Force in the form of a gift. This would eliminate operational and maintenance costs and future pump house replacement, saving millions of dollars while preserving the annual economic impact to the region and the State of Idaho. The project must be completed by Jan 2026 due to the water rights agreement with Simplot. If water is not flowing to MHAFB by this date, the senior water rights will revert back to Simplot.
It is important to also note, the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) has made it a priority to improve the educational facilities for the Mountain Home School District (MHSD). The OEA has several community programs. Public Schools of Military Installations (PSMI) and Defense Communities Infrastructure Program (DCIP) are two specific programs directly benefiting the MHSD. PSMI recently upgraded Stephensen Elementary School from #39 to #1 on its list to build a new school costing approximately $22M. OEA would pay for 80% and MHSD would pay only 20% of the total cost. MHSD received a $427K grant to improve school aesthetics. Potentially, the MHSD will receive $22.5M in kind to improve its school facilities. It is evident that the Department of Defense is invested in the success and growth of MHAFB and now it is up to the State to assist in continuing said success.
Mayor Rich Sykes and Marty Anderson, City of Mountain Home Military Liaison, have discussed this issue with the Governor’s Office, State of Idaho Representatives, and Congressional Senators. The State of Idaho has been working to allocate the additional $7M but no results to date.
The Military Affairs Committee (MAC) leadership is encouraging each community member to write a letter to your local City, County, and State Representatives. This letter is important for Mountain Home Air Force Base to continue and grow their mission. For more information, contact Marty Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.