Should insult be added to injury? Should federal taxpayers be placed on the hook for the costs of New Mexico’s Spaceport? Apparently, challenger Rocky Lara and incumbent Rep. Steve Pearce apparently believe so based on their discussion of the issue in their recent debate.
Taxpayer financing by New Mexicans for the Spaceport (totaling more than $200 million to date with little to show for it), long a point of contention with us at the Rio Grande Foundation, was bad enough, but adding federal funding to the mix here in New Mexico would invariably lead to other states getting in on the action, demanding funding for their own spaceport projects.
It is not surprising that a big-government liberal like Lara would endorse federal involvement in yet another area of our economy, but Pearce’s endorsement of the concept is truly baffling (aside from the misguided view that he’d somehow be bringing more “pork” into the district).
Rather than putting federal taxpayers on the hook for spaceport boondoggles nationwide, Pearce and Lara (not to mention other public officials) should embrace privatization of existing airports like those supposedly “socialist” Europeans. In fact, According to the 2010 ACI EUROPE report “The Ownership of Europe’s Airports, 80% of Europe’s airports operate as commercial companies (private or corporatised businesses). Moreover, nearly half of European air passengers currently travel through airports that are either fully or partially privatised.”