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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Virginia Set to Appropriate $47.5 Million to Spaceport Operations Over Next 5-Years

The Virginia General Assembly returns to Richmond Monday, May 14, 2012 to wrap-up the final work on the state's two-year budget containing a provision leading to a $9.5 million annually to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority over the next five years - or $47.5 million to operate the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has been steadfast in his support to expand the capacity of the Virginia spaceport to attract more commercial, civil and military space launch investment to the Eastern Shore launch pads over the balance of the decade. The Administration is advancing an overhaul of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority's purpose, governance, direction, and finance this year. 

Gov. Bob McDonnell backs spaceport
McDonnell first proposed $15-million per year for enhanced commercial spaceport operations with the plans adopted by the House but rejected by the Senate. The legislature compromised at $7.5 million annually in adoption of the state's budget in a special session.

The governor is now back with a budget amendment Monday to up the annual amount to $9.5 million. However, the budget will continue with a five-year sunset clause capping the state's pledge to a total of $47.5 million, if McDonnell's budget amendment is adopted, as expected.

The sunset provision authorizing the $47.5 million will impose accountability and responsibility upon the authority's board of directors to produce a successful launch manifest that brings value to Virginia within five years. If funding is to continue at the burn rate set, a multi-user facility must emerge.

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