Cameron Co. Judge: Residents to Benefit from Space X Project
BROWNSVILLE – Cameron County and the state are making major investments to get ready for Space X’s arrival at Boca Chica Beach.
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino explained to CHANNEL 5 NEWS how county residents stand to benefit.
Trevino said having rockets launch from Boca Chica Beach is something that seemed far-fetched for many. He said residents will now see improvement without having to pay more property taxes.
State Highway 4 is getting upgraded to withstand the weight of Space X rockets.
Russell Davila, who’s lived along the road for the past 14 years, said he welcomes the project because of the high-paying jobs it promises to bring to the area.
“It’s progress and you can’t stop progress, and I think it’s the right thing,” he said. “I can remember when kids graduated high school here and college, and you had to go somewhere else because there was no opportunity in the area.”
Last week, the state dispersed $2.6 million to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corporation to pay Space X for some of the work they’ve done already.
“Who wouldn’t want rockets launching out of their backyard? Who would have even thought the space industry would be coming to South Texas, in particular Cameron County,” Trevino said.
The county judge said the Spaceport Development Corporation was set up around 2013 when Space X first showed interest in setting up its launch pad in Cameron County.
The state plans to disperse nearly $10 million more to Space X in the future. That’s not counting road improvements the Texas Department of Transportation is currently doing or the land by the beach that the county is donating.
Trevino said he’s sure the payoff will come.
“By enhancing our property tax base, through industry, through economic development – all those are avenues where, hopefully, we can keep out tax base as low as we can possibly do it. But those tax dollars we’re able to utilize whether it be for law enforcement or parks or health or the court system,” he said.
Boca Chica Village resident Cheryl Stevens, who denied an on-camera interview, said she’s not convinced. She said she prefers the natural habitat that’s unlike any other in the nation.
Stevens said she also wants to have access to Boca Chica Beach year-round. Space X plans to do about 12 launches a year, during which times access to the beach will be restricted.
Davila disagreed and said the county should’ve developed the area long ago.
“Some of the affiliate companies, from what I heard, are going to buy land out here as well. I’m not trying to get rich, I just want a fair price for my place,” he said.
Trevino said the county along with surrounding Valley cities and the state made contractual offers to get Space X to come here instead of Puerto Rico. He said they have followed through.
The county judge said construction near Boca Chica Beach will increase significantly in the upcoming months.
The first expected Space X launch will be in December 2018.