New Mexico has obtained the licence for establishing a spaceport, where Virgin Glactic and other operators can launch their tourist space flights and rocket racing league. The downside is that the state will produce the majority of the budget and uncertainty rules all infrastructure projects in a time of constrained resources:
Initial plans called for the spaceport to be built at a cost of $225 million, and the Legislature required the spaceport authority to come up with a budget that didn't exceed that amount. The current budget is set at $198 million, with an estimated $140 million of that coming from the state and the balance coming from local tax revenue, said David Wilson, a spokesman for the spaceport authority.
Two counties, Sierra and Dona Ana, approved tax measures for the spaceport. However, Otero County voters rejected a spaceport tax in November. Wilson told msnbc.com that discussions were continuing with other counties about coming in on the project and making up for Otero's anticipated share.
"We've got 97 percent of the money that we need," Wilson said. If another entity can't be recruited for the spaceport tax district, the construction plans could conceivably be scaled back, he said.