Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Give me a break!


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed legislation into law on Wednesday that will allow his state to begin investing $110 million in a facility to launch tourists into space.

"These bills will help create tremendous economic impact for New Mexico, and particularly Southern New Mexico," Richardson said in a statement on the planned spaceport in Upham near the White Sands Missile Range.

"This is a unique opportunity for New Mexico to be on the ground floor of a new industry that will bring new companies, more high-wage jobs and opportunities that will move our state's economy forward," he added.

Helping fund the facility, estimated to cost $225 million, was a priority during the state's recent legislative session for Richardson, who wants to help British entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic build the spaceport.

The two bills Richardson signed would create the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, which will be able to issue bonds, and would allow local governments that would benefit from the facility to ask voters if they would support it and related development with a new local options gross receipt tax.


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