Dollars For Development
States have plenty of economic incentive to push for the ports, according to the AP. Most are sited in desolate regions with little competition for development and a desperate need for jobs. A study commissioned by New Mexico predicted that its proposed port could bring in $750 million and create up to 5,800 jobs by 2020. Besides the launch infrastructure, the ports will require training facilities, luxury hotels and other services for passengers. The spaceports also can be designed to attract tourists beyond the few well-heeled flyers, generating even more jobs and revenue. In an effort to compete, the Mojave, Calif., airport recently asked the state for an $11 million loan to help build a hangar complex and terminal for space tourism -- a proposal that met with some resistance. "We have to be competitive with other states to maintain this unique business opportunity in California," state Sen. George Runner, a spaceport proponent, told the Daily News. "For now, we have an advantage over these other locations -- we have existing infrastructure in place ... But if we want to continue to be the leader in this new industry, California must invest in the airport." Opponents labeled the loan request "millions for a billionaire," saying Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson, who plans to use the Mojave site until the New Mexico spaceport is ready, doesn't need financial help from the state.