U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) prompted a call for action at a Senate committee hearing last week to approve funding for the new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).
Moran called for the Department of Homeland Security to approve the land transfer for the project and release the $90 million earmarked for construction of the project near Kansas State University.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano agreed with Moran’s urgency. "I think it's necessary for the country, and I think it's time to fish or cut bait," Napolitano said according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.
Napolitano is eager to release $40 million earmarked for the project’s power plant and wants a meeting with Gov. Brownback or members of the Kansas congressional delegation to discuss future “cost shares” related to NBAF.
"I am encouraged with what we are hearing," Gov. Sam Brownback told the Associated Press last week. "Kansas stands ready to partner with the Department of Homeland Security to move this important national security priority forward."
Moran cited potential expiration of contracts which would require rebidding the project as a reason to move quickly. "When you say the time is now, it's not a matter of many months," he said. "It's a matter of a few weeks before this needs to happen."
Progress on the $1 billion project has been delayed since the site in Manhattan, Kan. was selected in 2008.
The expected completion date for the project has been pushed back to 2018.