Archive for Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Infrastructure for proposed biosecurity lab could cost Kansans $164 million

Measure on fast track in Legislature

March 18, 2008


— Legislative leaders Tuesday said Kansas taxpayers will have to pay up to $164 million to help the state lure a federal biosecurity lab.

"I can't emphasize enough how important this is," said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.

The Legislature will consider a bond issue of $105 million to make infrastructure improvements for the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF.

Paid off over 20 years, the bonds would cost $164 million in principal, interest and fees, officials said.

Kansas is one of six states vying for the $451 million NBAF, which will be a U.S. Department of Homeland Security lab used to research plant, animal and human diseases. The focus of NBAF will be on combating potential bio-terrorist threats to the food supply.

Recently, Homeland Security estimated that Kansas' cost of land, roads, grading, parking security fencing and a dedicated central utility plant would total $105 million. The Kansas proposal is at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Tom Thornton, president of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, said the state expense is well worth it because NBAF will create jobs and attract more investment. NBAF would have a $1.5 billion economic impact over 20 years, he said.

"This is a key moment," Thornton said.

Legislation allowing the bonds has been put on the fast track and is expected to be debated by the full Senate on Wednesday.

Homeland Security strongly encourages cost-sharing, Thornton said, and it wants Kansas' best and final offer by the end of March. The agency is scheduled to pick a location in October.

The other sites in contention are Athens, Ga.; San Antonio; Granville County, N.C.; Madison County, Miss.; and an existing lab at Plum Island, N.Y.


Alison Carter 10 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like a good investment. It's not like funding a theme park development or something similar.

johngalt 10 years, 3 months ago

$100 million ???? for a Federal facility?

Do we pay for Ft. Leavenworth or Ft. Riley or McConnel?

dinglesmith 10 years, 3 months ago

It's certainly cheaper, and a better investment than putting offices under the state capitol. Thankfully this is in Neufeld's territory, so whatever nonsense spews from him will at least be supportive. Maybe a special tax on Manhattan since they will benefit from this the most??

Seriously, this is a trivial expense to land a federal lab of this magnitude. The lab is a big deal, but all of the support services and spin-off companies will be even bigger for our state. Not many chances come around for something like this.

tolawdjk 10 years, 3 months ago


I swear hawkperchedatriverfront is channeling Johnnie Cochran with that logic right there.

How do you get from federal biolab funded by statefunds to lawrence library funded by city funds? It's not even the same people proposing it.

If Chewbacca is on Endor, you must aquit!

igby 10 years, 3 months ago

tolawdjk: I think what hawk means is that no government project generates any real tax revenue to re-pay the investment of the millions that will be spent by tax payers. More and better jobs, yes. But a library or a federal bio-lab will re-pay no taxes.

That's funny about the Johnny biz.

KsTwister 10 years, 3 months ago

Wait a minute, that is just a "lure" for starters!!???? Gee Whiz, Kansans are so gullible (or stupid;hard to tell).

hornhunter 10 years, 3 months ago

With what Bremby did to Sunflowers air permitt, Kansas will not even get this BIO lab. 'A dedicated central utility plant' which means they will have to have a electric plant on site. That means large amounts of man made CO2. Another large Kansas economic booster flushed down the pisser.

jeksdairy 10 years, 3 months ago

As a Kansas rancher, I can tell you this is a solid investment. Think about it this way...what's the cost of inaction? It is estimated that an FMD outbreak would result in losses of $10 to 34 billion and economic devastation for much of Kansas. This is an investment in our economic security. Kansas needs this.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 3 months ago

Forget the project. If Steve Morris says it is good hmmmmm he is one who believes there is clean coal. Steve Morris is a politician you know.

A 17.5 million dollar library next to the art center makes good sense and will create jobs through construction. And it makes use of a parking garage instead of building more expensive underground parking that was attached to the $30 million plan. The $17.5 million plan saves $12.5 million.

hornhunter 10 years, 3 months ago

dinglesmith, 'Thankfully this is in Neufeld's territory' ?????? He is a Republican rep. from Ingalls. DA

love2eat 10 years, 3 months ago

I am opposed to this facility. First off, the idea of living in close proximity to a place like this, no matter how much we are assured it is safe, places us at risk. Have you read, The Hot Zone?

Second I don't think it is right that taxpayers cover so many of the costs of research, when ultimately private entities control the fruits of that labor which may then be patented to enrich them, or alternatively the data (that taxpayers paid for) is then not freely available to all who might have an interest in learning from it.

Third, I am not surprised that a farmer would support this -- however the "welfare ranching" mentality has gotten way out of hand. Taxpayers already subsidize ranchers destroying national forests, who graze their cattle their for a fraction of the going market rate, while taxpayers cover the cost of fences, water and more. Taxpayers also cover the cost of an assault on wildlife species that either compete with cows or are percieved as a threat to cows.

Just say "NO." to this project.

(And as a side note -- I LOVE the library, I am all for expanding it, I am happy to have my tax dollars go for it. I think the staff are terrific. Nowhere else these days can I get such wonderful customer service, while getting a terrific free education. Any project I want to do, any subject I want to explore, anything I want to know, have, create, understand -- I go to the library, and I am grateful for the chance to do so. More then any other city service, I feel that the library has contributed more to my having a wonderful life then any other. Thank you to all who make it such a great place!!!!)

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