By Matt Dixon on November 14, 2011
Legislation that could help attract space-related companies to Cecil Field has been fast-tracked in the Florida Senate but was stripped of a major provision Monday that some called an overreach by Florida’s top space organization.
In 2010, the Federal Aviation Authority made Cecil Field the nation’s eighth licensed spaceport. The move authorized the facility for horizontal takeoffs and landing of launch vehicles that can reach space.
A bill filed by state Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, and state Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, would officially designate Cecil Field as a spaceport territory in at the state level. That recognition would allow Space Florida, an independent special district that advocates for the state’s space industry, to offer incentives to attract space-related companies to the area.
“It’s really an economic development type thing,” Wise said. “It will bring businesses in.”
The designation would also include Cecil Field in Space Florida’s master plan, which includes, among other things, funding infrastructure upgrades.
That part of the bill everyone has agrees on.
It has already passed out of all three of its Senate committee’s stops — warp speed as far as legislative timelines go — but a second provision has taken heat and was removed Monday by members of the Senate Consumer Affairs Committee.