Virgin Galactic’s new home
Auntie Beeb confirms that the Virgin Galactic spaceport proposal is a go. Residents of New Mexico have voted their approval of "a new tax to build the nation’s first commercial spaceport."
Virgin Galactic will be building in Dona Ana County, described as " a relatively poor and bleak swathe of desert in southern New Mexico with fewer than 200,000 residents," who will be supporting billionaire Richard Branson via a 0.25% increase in the local sales tax. This increase is expected to raise about $50 million towards the project’s estimated $200 million pricetag. Presumably the rest will come from Branson’s petty cash drawer.
The spaceport, whose supporters are spouting the usual "bring thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in space tourism revenue to the area" lip service, is expected to open in 2009, catering to elite members of Branson’s tax bracket which will pay about $200,000 each for a 2.5-hour flight. Not including sales tax, presumably.