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Senate Subcommittee Approves NBAF Funds

A U.S. Senate subcommittee on Tuesday approved $404 million in federal spending for the construction of a federal research laboratory at Kansas State University.

The vote sends the funding for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. The money is part of the Department of Homeland Security budget for 2014.

Federal officials want to build the $1.25 billion lab for research into deadly animal diseases, and to replace an aging facility at Plum Island, N.Y.

Kansas officials have approved spending up to $305 million in bond proceeds as part of the state's cost to construct the lab, which is being built on the northern edge of the Kansas State campus in Manhattan. Ground has already been broken on a central utility plant that will service the lab.

Construction on the main laboratory facility is expected to begin in 2014, pending approval of federal funds. The Department of Homeland Security has not published a date for certifying the lab and beginning operations, but Kansas State officials have hoped that it would be by the year 2018.