Voters in Sierra County overwhelmingly approved an increase in the sales tax to help fund Spaceport America, New Mexico’s ambitious effort to build a gateway to the stars.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that 65 percent of voters approved the .25 cent tax increase, a wider margin than some had predicted. The 42 percent turnout was the highest ever for a special election.
“I’m feeling good,” New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Steve Landeene said. “It’s been an emotional day and obviously the outcome is a very positive emotion.”
The approval means that a taxation district can be formally established with Dona Ana County, whose residents narrowly approved the tax increase last year. Voters in neighboring Otera County will go to the polls in November.
New Mexico hopes the spaceport will be used for a variety of purposes, most prominently to send tourists on suborbital flights. The state is in negotiations with London-based Virgin Galactic to be an anchor tenant.