Has New Mexico won the space race?

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 12/14/2005 - 15:31

The last time I checked, there were four or five states (including my home state of Virginia) that were toying with the idea of a spaceport. But New Mexico may have won the first race (there will be more than one spaceport in the country).

Virgin Atlantic has signed a $225 million dollar deal with New Mexico to build a spaceport in southern New Mexico. The spaceport is expected to attract hundreds of millions of dollars of additional private investment and to bring thousands of jobs to what may be the poorest part of one of the poorest states in the U.S.

New Mexico drove a stake in the ground several years ago in this area. Instead of wringing its hands and complaining about how bad things were, the state looked around, identified its assets (in this case, a government research facility and a lot of flat, sandy land), and said, in effect, "We've got lemons. Let's make some lemonade."

I will venture to say few took the effort seriously, but New Mexico stuck to its plan, worked hard to attract aerospace companies, and kept its eye on the ball. This is probably the biggest thing to happen to the state since it became a state. And it will transform the economy of the entire state.

Boldness and vision, managed correctly, can have a big payoff. How about economic developers in your region? Is there boldness and vision in your region's economic development strategy?

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