Barbour adds biolab incentives to special session agenda

Gov. Haley Barbour added a 10th item to the agenda of a special session that is costing taxpayers thousands of extra dollars, saying it could help Mississippi land a $451 million laboratory.

Barbour wants lawmakers to sign off on $88 million in bonds for the project. Flora appears to be a strong contender for the laboratory that will research high-consequence biological threats and animal diseases.

Mississippi faces competition from Kansas, where lawmakers have already authorized $105 million in bonds for land, roads, parking, security fencing and a central utility plant at the site.

Sites in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas also are competing for the facility, which would replace an aging animal research center at Plum Island, N.Y.

Work on the 520,000-square-foot lab could begin in 2010, and it could be completed and running by 2013.

The facility would have about 250 to 350 employees.

Clarion Ledger
5/28/8