Sebelius signs bill to help land bio-defense facility 

Kansas City Business Journal

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Friday signed legislation providing for infrastructure improvements needed to secure a National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility for the state.

Kansas is one of six finalists for the facility. The proposed site is at Kansas State University, immediately adjacent to the Biosecurity Research Institute. Senate Substitute for House Bill 2001 authorizes the issuance of revenue bonds to support a capital improvement project for the facility.

In early February, President Bush announced that his budget for fiscal 2009 included $35.6 million for the facility.

The NBAF, which would replace an aging facility at Plum Island, N.Y., will employ as many as 500 scientists in research aimed at protecting the nation’s food supply and public health from bioterrorism and disease.

It will create a 20-year economic impact that was estimated last year at $3.5 billion to $6 billion.

The facility is a joint project of the U.S. departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services. Construction, expected to take four to five years, is scheduled to begin in 2010.

“This bill demonstrates that the NBAF continues to be our state’s top bioscience priority,” Sebelius said in a release. “The efforts to be the home of this facility have always been strengthened by our existing resources and broad support of the NBAF Task Force. We believe Kansas is the best home for the NBAF and this investment clearly demonstrates our commitment to this important homeland security issue.”