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SpaceX Seeks Additional Incentives From Local Communities for Texas Spaceport

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 11, 2014
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Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

After receiving $15.3 million in state assistance, SpaceX is now negotiating with local and regional authorities for additional financial incentives totaling up to $11.7 million for its launch complex south of Brownsville, Texas.

According to the Valley Morning Star, the additional incentives include:

  • $5 million from the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp.;
  • $3.1 million in tax benefits over 10 years through a property value limitation agreement with the Point Isabel Independent School District, which would be reimbursed by the state;
  • $1.6 million property tax abatement over 10 years from Cameron County (already approved);
  • $1 million from the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texas Capital Fund through an application already submitted by Cameron County Space Port Development Corp.; and,
  • $400,000 to $500,000 apiece from the Harlingen Economic Development Corp. and the McAllen Economic Development Corp., spread out over a number of years.

The Valley Morning Star reports that SpaceX has been in communication with the city of South Padre Island for a contribution. Those talks could be resuming.

South Padre Island Mayor Robert Pinkerton Jr. said the Island would benefit dramatically from SpaceX locating at Boca Chica.

“They are going to create a lot of high-paying jobs. I think that is going to be wonderful for the lower Valley, including South Padre Island,” the mayor said. Furthermore, “from a tourism standpoint, I think it’s a home run,” Pinkerton said.

Pinkerton also expects that retail and commercial businesses would be ready to try to do something that would be a compliment to SpaceX operations.

“I was brought up in Brownsville and I just can’t believe that we are going to get SpaceX,” he said. “I’ve made one shuttle launch and there must have been 60,000 people attending this in Florida. If we just get 20 percent of that, it would be a lot for the Island, especially in the off season.

“I don’t think that there is anyone that is not going to benefit from this in the Valley and the state. It’s going to be really wonderful,” the mayor said.

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry announced the state would directly provide $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund. The state will also provide $13 million to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp. to build infrastructure required for the spaceport.

The $11.7 million in additional local and regional benefits would bring investment in the project up to as high as $27 million.

SpaceX is expected to pump $85 million into the area and to create 300 jobs.