Texas today awarded $5 million grants to two spaceport regions, one in Houston and the other in Cameron County where SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility is located.
Governor Greg Abbott today announced Spaceport Trust Fund grant awards of $5,000,000 to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corporation and $5,000,000 to the Houston Spaceport Development Corporation. Administered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, the Spaceport Trust Fund is a financial tool to support the development of infrastructure necessary for establishing a spaceport in the state of Texas. The 87th Legislature appropriated $10,000,000 in funds in fiscal year 2022 to provide grants, disbursed on a cost-reimbursement basis, to help support the creation of quality jobs and attract continuing investments that will strengthen the economic future of the state.
The money is obviously intended to help pay for things like roads and bridges and other various improvements required to handle the increased traffic and population brought to the locations because of the new spaceport activity.
One wonders, however, why Houston got as much as the Boca Chica area. As far as I know, there is no spaceport begin built near Houston. It houses the Johnson Space Center, but that handles activities prior to and after launch.
I suspect there was some politics involved. Abbott couldn’t award Boca Chica while ignoring Houston, especially because Houston’s importance in the space industry is presently declining as the industry moves from a government-run model (epitomized by the Johnson center) to a private commercial model (epitomized by SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility). Abbott probably felt obliged to send some support Houston’s way to avoid accusations that he is ignoring its increasingly problematic position.
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