Spaceport America has turned out to be a boondoggle in the desert. At a cost to $250 million and rising, the facility has not launched a single manned tourism flight. The facility remains dependent on gross receipts taxes collected by Doña County and Sierra Counties for a significant portion of its operating costs.
Amazingly, now, managers of the Spaceport are now looking for even more money for the facility. While the Spaceport was foolishly proposed and built under the Richardson Administration (in part to support his presidential aspirations), the Spaceport is now facing competition from new space facilities coming online in other states (many of which were not nearly as reliant on tax dollars including a Texas Spaceport which cost that State’s taxpayers just $2.3 million and $13 million for infrastructure).
At a recent forum sponsored by KRWG in which RGF board member Michael Aguilar participated, Spaceport CEO Dan Hicks made the case that the Spaceport is already successful and that New Mexico’s already financially-strapped taxpayers should pony up even more money for the facility.
The Rio Grande Foundation has patiently waited for Spaceport America to “take off.” Unfortunately, there is no sign that the private space business is going to get off the ground anytime soon, let alone in New Mexico. It is time to for New Mexico to follow the advice of Sen. George Muñoz and sell the facility.