By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
Near the end of 2015, the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Advisory Board and City Council began discussing ideas regarding the development of a SpaceX viewing facility.
In preparation for the project, lobbying efforts from SPI in the 2015 legislative session were successful in bringing a change at the state level to allow for Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funds to be used toward SpaceX and ecotourism related infrastructure. As a result, House Bill 1717 was created, allowing up to 15 percent of the HOT tax collected, which has increased by 35 percent when compared to the previous year, to be used for these expenses. With the SpaceX project steadily progressing, the City hopes to capitalize on the potential monthly rocket launches, drawing in visitors and providing additional activities to extend their stay on the Island.
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