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Archive for Friday, March 27, 2009

Kansans seeking funds for NBAF

March 27, 2009

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— The Department of Homeland Security awarded the project to Kansas in January, choosing a site at Kansas State University in Manhattan over four other finalists. The lab will conduct research on deadly plant and animal diseases, replacing an aging lab at Plum Island, N.Y.

In a letter sent Thursday by Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts and Rep. Todd Tiahrt, the Republicans asked that the Obama administration show support for the project by appropriating $150 million in fiscal year 2010, which begins Oct. 1.

The members of the Kansas delegation said it was their understanding that only $35 million was included in the president’s budget sent to Congress, with an additional $500 million to come in fiscal year 2011 following the sale of the Plum Island property.

“We want this administration to know how crucial it is for the NBAF project to move forward without delay,” Tiahrt said in a written statement. “We believe it is important for the federal government to commit to a strong level of funding for this regional and national security priority.”

The Kansas Republicans noted that the state has committed $110 million of its money to the project. The overall investment is expected to be around $650 million.

“As a former legislator, we hope you understand that in light of the funding put forth by the state of Kansas, a larger investment by DHS and the federal government is seen as a crucial signal of your administration’s plans to move forward with the construction of this national security priority,” they wrote.

Tom Thornton, president of the Kansas Biosciences Authority, said the delegation was acting appropriately in seeking clarity on the level of federal funds in 2010.

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