The economic development corporations in McAllen and Harlingen built stipulations into their agreements with SpaceX to ensure that commitments promised in exchange for incentives will be met. Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, which designs and manufactures its Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft, is developing the world’s first commercial private orbital launch site at Boca Chica near Brownsville in Cameron County. The state and several Rio Grande Valley agencies, including McAllen and Harlingen, worked to land the $100 million-plus project.
The effort captured is expected to transform South Texas into an aerospace hub, rich in educational, research, development, and employment opportunities. Total grants and tax abatements for SpaceX equal about $30 million. McAllen and Harlingen together will offer nearly $1 million of that, a significant amount for agencies with limited revenue streams, but that recognize that their communities also are poised for explosive growth. They also ensured that their cities will benefit in a tangible way that can be measured. Reporting requirements, job creation, and direct investments are built into the agreements.