NM spaceport office needs more money

A little-noticed article from last week: the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, which is overseeing development of Spaceport America, needs additional state funding for its office. The money is not for the spaceport development itself, but to build up the office’s staff. The office has a budget this year of $365,000, but needs $1.5 million next year to bring on employees to work with the FAA, Virgin Galactic, and others involved with the spaceport.

That request has the support of the Las Cruces Sun-News in an editorial earlier this week. “It can’t be done on the cheap,” the paper says of the spaceport project. “It’s going to require expertise and experience that the state simply does not have on staff at this time.” The editorial also subtly criticizes neighboring Sierra County, which has yet to hold a referendum on a sales tax increase to help support the spaceport. “If officials in Sierra County, where the spaceport is located, are unwilling to ask taxpayers there for a hike, it will make it extremely difficult to win the support of Arnold-Jones [a state legislator from Albuquerque] and other lawmakers from north of Socorro.”

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