Updated: Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013, 2:42 PM MST
Published : Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013, 2:42 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday urged legislative leaders to end their gridlock and pass her proposals for diversifying the state's economy. Among the key measures, a liability exemption for space companies that she says is needed to attract business to the nearly complete Space America.
The quarter-of-a-billion project was built by taxpayers under an agreement with British businessman Richard Branson's space tourism company, Virgin Galactic. But the company has refused to enter a binding lease, citing the state's inability to compete in the commercial space arena without the law. Martinez says negotiations for locking the company into its lease as anchor tenant spaceport are on hold while the bill lingers in the Legislature.
Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides declined to comment directly on the issue, saying only that both parties are working in good faith.