December 09, 2005
More Strange Activity in New Mexico
Posted by Christine Hurt

As if NM Governor Bill Richardson wasn't already going to have to answer hard questions about his so-called MLB career should he make a presidential run, now he seems to be proud of the fact that the state of New Mexico is going to sink $200 million into a commercial spaceport.  From living in West Texas and peering over the border, I would say that NM doesn't have a lot of million-dollar bills to be throwing around to build Richard Branson's launch pad.  Branson's Virgin Galactic plans to host commercial "sub orbital" space flights for paying customers, some of whom have already paid deposits. 

The governmental line is that the state seeks to profit from tourism spawned by the space flights.  (The state will not receive taxes from the flights.)  However, this spaceport is not being built near Santa Fe or even Ruidoso.  It is being built near Las Cruces.  Now, being from Lubbock, I can't knock anyone's city, but I'm not sure how many really rich people are going to want to hang out in Las Cruces.  (The flights cost $200,000 per person.)  If I were a NM taxpayer, I think I would just let Mr. Branson build his own spaceport.

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