Kansas and federal officials gathered for a ground breaking ceremony for the first phase of a new federal biodefense lab in Manhattan as funding for the project meanders through the legislative process.
The first shovels of dirt were turned Tuesday morning near Kansas State University for the central utility plant for the $1.2 billion National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility.
A U.S. House budget committee has approved $404 million of the $714 million that President Barack Obama has proposed in his budget for the lab.
The Senate is yet to consider the request. Officials say the lower amount is sufficient for contracts to be signed and construction on the lab to begin in 2014.
Kansas legislators are considering a request to approve $202 million in bonds to complete the project.