Spaceport America is awesome, and it’s just going to get more awesome in the years ahead.
So says Christine Anderson, who runs the runs the facility as executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. Anderson explained the project’s value in an op-ed that ran in the Las Cruces Sun-News on Sunday.
The piece boasted about how many jobs the spaceport had created, projected how many more it would produce in the years ahead, marveled at the high-quality tenants it had attracted (Virgin Galactic, SpaceX), and tried to make the $212 million spent thus far seem like a bargain to taxpayers.
In other words, she said nothing new that taxpayers haven’t heard for years. However, there was this intriguing paragraph toward the end:
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority and the New Mexico Economic Development Department are beginning an economic development initiative. Working in coordination with business leaders, spaceport customers, educators and economic development organizations, we will enable the infrastructure to be developed that will provide a firm foundation for the spaceport’s success and, even more importantly, result in jobs and economic prosperity for New Mexicans.
Anderson doesn’t explain precisely what this will entail, or what it might cost taxpayers. However, it is clear that the low-income region lacks the type of high-end hotels, restaurants and other amenities that the billionaires and millionaires who will fly from Spaceport America typically expect. Having spent more than $200 million building a spaceport that caters to the rich, the region’s service economy will need to follow suit.