Brownsville, Texas is preparing for lift off, thanks to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
This week, the rocket and spacecraft company announced it will build a commercial launch facility outside of Brownsville, bringing 500 jobs to the area over a 10-year period. Brownsville, which has a population of approximately 200,000, is located near the Texas-Mexico border.
"SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world's first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions. We appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and numerous other federal, state and local officials who have partnered with us to make this vision a reality," said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. "In addition to creating hundreds of high-tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the south Texas area."
SpaceX will make a capital investment of $85 million in the Brownsville area, according to a statement put out by Texas Governor Rick Perry’s office. The state will pay over $15 million to help bring SpaceX to the Brownsville area and to support the development of the aerospace industry in the region.
“We’re living in exciting times right now. This is the sign of many good things to come in the future,” said the Brownsville Economic Development Council’s Gil Salinas. “As a community, as a region and as a state, we will hopefully look back to 2014 as the time when they pulled one of the biggest deals in the history of this area, and take a look at what it’s done for the area.”
Salinas said the project has the potential to radically transform Brownsville.
“We’re looking at, in terms of salaries alone, a $51 million increase in annual salaries in the area… and then another 400-500 indirect jobs by way of suppliers,” said Salinas, who added that much of Brownsville’s economy has depended on the automotive industry.
SpaceX has the Brownsville business community thanking its lucky stars, according to Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez.
“Money is meant to circulate, and the more it circulates, the more there is to circulate and the greater opportunity there is,” said Martinez. “Our top priority is job creation.”