President Barack Obama’s proposed budget sent to Congress Wednesday, includes $714 million to build the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) near Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. The $1.15 billion lab would be built by the Department of Homeland Security and would replace the current facility on Plum Island, N.Y.

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts said, “After almost a decade of work by a whole bunch of folks, this is certainly good news. We’re not there yet, but it’s a milestone.”

The NBAF project has come under scrutiny due to cost issues, but supporters believe the lab is critical to our national defense and are now happy to see President Obama behind the project.

Senator Jerry Moran, also a Kansas Republican, said he would work with Roberts and others to preserve the funding in the final budget bill.

Roberts said the proposal will require additional financial commitments from Kansas. Governor Sam Brownback has indicated he supports the NBAF project and will work with the Kansas legislature to meet the financial commitment.

Kansas has agreed to contribute 20 percent of the cost of construction, and the state has already issued $105 million in bonds and $35 million from the Kansas Bioscience authority.

Kansas State University president Kirk Schulz said Wednesday’s budget announcement built on momentum for the project that began earlier when Homeland Security awarded contracts for the utility plant construction.

“The President’s budget recommendations solidify our confidence that Manhattan will be a national center for animal health as K-State becomes a Top 25 public research university,” Schulz said.