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The Arkansas legislature approves the funding measure for spaceport study



Little Rock, Arkansas – How much might it cost to determine whether Arkansas needs a spaceport before a bill is passed by the state legislature?

One bill would mandate the state to carry out a feasibility study to see if we could use a spaceport, and the other would appropriate the funding to do so. State Sen. Justin Boyd (R-Fort Smith) supported both of this legislation.

Both have already been approved by lawmakers.

Boyd claimed that this resulted from the future mobility council that previous governor Asa Hutchinson established while in office. One of the recommendations in their final report was to conduct a feasibility study for a spaceport.

Boyd said that up to $950,000 in government cash has been appropriated in the bill establishing the study’s cost.

The next stage, according to him, is to find the money.

“Anytime we talk about funding that is a challenging discussion,” he said. “We have a lot of competing interests but, I feel good about this one.”

Boyd asserted that he thinks the state would gain a significant amount of money from a spaceport.

“There are people who are paying money to travel to space right now, like private companies,” Boyd said.

There are currently spaceports in a number of our surrounding states, but Boyd argued that this does not necessarily negate the necessity for us to establish one as well.

“What I understand is maybe not all of the infrastructure around those spaceports is fully developed. The other thing is, its a growing industry right?” Boyd said. “If we are going to be late to the game it could be that we miss out on an opportunity.”

The head of the Spaceport Development Committee, Roger Cunningham, fully supports the bills.

“I think revenue is the first symptom of doing things right, but I think in addition the workforce development, the quality of life, improvement to the community,” Cunningham said. “The feasibility study, its purpose is to determine will this be a set of benefits that can happen to the Arkansas community and to what degree can we capture and achieve these benefits?”

Boyd claimed that his appropriations measure gives the Economic Development Commission the option of carrying out the study themselves or hiring experts to do so.

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