Quick legislative action on $202 million of Kansas state revenue bonds for a biodefense laboratory may avoid higher costs later, Gov. Sam Brownback said last week.
The state has already issued $105 million of bonds for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University. The additional bonds are needed for the state’s 20% match for the facility, which is now expected to cost $1.15 billion.
The state Senate Ways and Means Committee held hearings on Brownback’s bond request last week, but tabled the measure until legislators can meet with Brownback when the Legislature re-convenes May 8.
Brownback said the bonds should be the last funding required from the state for the facility. The bonds should be approved now to avoid attempts to move more of the cost onto the state government, he said at a news conference on April 26.
“We need to get this tied down now,” he said. “You’ve got a chance now to get this resolved, but it involves more cost here at the state of Kansas.
“You want to solve these things,” Brownback said. “You want to get this done now, before you get three or four years down the road.”
Kansas agreed to a 20% match for the biodefense laboratory when the costs was estimated at $650 million, but a redesign to make it more secure doubled the estimated price tag.
The federal budget for fiscal 2014 proposed by President Obama includes $714 million for the laboratory.
Kansas also allocated $35 million to move the agricultural research efforts to the 46-acre site in Manhattan, Kan.
The new laboratory adjacent to the KSU campus will replace the obsolete Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located on an island off the coast of New York.