Kansas issues bonds for new biodefense facility

Kansas government officials authorized issuing $45.4 million in bonds on Wednesday for the $650 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility's next phase of construction.
The bonds for the Manhattan facility were approved by Gov. Sam Brownback and other legislative leaders who make up the state finance council during a brief meeting at the statehouse. Of the bonds issued, $40 million will be matched with the same amount of federal funding to build a central utilities building for the lab, the Associated Press reports.
"This is big, delicate, step-by-step process," Brownback said, according to the AP. "This continues to have a lot of nurturing to move this process forward."
The purpose of the lab, which will be located near the Kansas State campus, will be to conduct research on plant and animal diseases. The lab will research foot-and-mouth and other dangerous animal diseases that could be passed to humans. The building will replace an aging facility at Plum Island, N.Y.
The Department of Homeland Security expects to start final site preparation and construction of the utility plant in early 2012. Construction on the lab itself is expected to begin in 2012, with operations transferred from the old facility as early as 2017.
The finance council was required to approve issuing the bonds after legislation stripped the responsibility from the Kansas Bioscience Authority when the agency came under legislative scrutiny earlier this year.