Report: NASA Ames boosts Bay Area's economy | May 14, 2010 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - May 14, 2010

Report: NASA Ames boosts Bay Area's economy

by Daniel DeBolt

The United States economy gets a hefty return on every tax dollar spent by NASA Ames, which generates $877 million a year for the Bay Area's economy alone, according to a new report.

Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center hired the firm Bay Area Economics to study its "economic output," which was found to total $1.3 billion nationally, with the potential of growing to $7.1 billion in the next 15 years. BAE found that Ames has the potential to support 42,000 jobs nationally if plans for building a massive research park at Ames follow through, more than quadrupling the number of jobs it currently supports nationwide.

Taxpayers are getting their money's worth from the $750 million annual budget at Ames, according to the report.

"Each dollar spent by NASA Ames generates $2.49 of total economic output throughout the United States, approximately $1.78 of economic output within California and $1.68 in the Bay Area," the report concludes.

Ames Director S. Pete Worden said Ames "stimulates economic growth by employing scientists and engineering professionals, promoting technology innovation, and preparing the workforce of the future."

The economic output can be partly attributed to what the report calls a "major success story" at NASA Ames Research Park (NRP), which is home to 70 private companies partnering with NASA. Most have taken up residence in the former Navy buildings at Moffett Field, which Ames took over from the Navy in 1994. Those businesses cover 675,000 square feet of existing building space.

The report predicts that upon full build-out of the NRP in the next 15 years, Ames will be even more of an "extraordinary economic force" generating another 21,300 permanent jobs for the Bay Area and 33,800 nationwide.

Ames itself now has only 2,500 civil servants and contract employees and supports 5,300 jobs in the Bay Area.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at


Posted by Skeptic, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 13, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Let's see - then if we give NASA Ames 2 trillion taxpayer dollars, we'll solve the budget deficit with all that economic impact....

If you could grow your economy through government spending, Greece would be on top of the world.

With that said, if you're going to spend government money then it does make sense to put it into infrastructure and research, since both of those have the potential for long-term economic payoff. So NASA Ames is not necessarily bad - but the report of its impact is either ludicrously oversold or so poorly reported to be meaningless.

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