Archive for Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boyda touts earmarks headed to 2nd District

December 26, 2007

Funds for cancer research at Kansas University, road improvements at Clinton Lake and barracks at Fort Leavenworth were among the numerous budget earmarks for the 2nd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Topeka, said Thursday.

The funds were included in the appropriations bill approved by Congress and headed to President Bush for his signature.

The spending measure contained $387 million in new federal funding for the district, including $86 million in earmarked funds.

Of those, $414,000 will go to KU for drug research.

Scott Weir, director of the office of therapeutics, discovery and development at KU, said the funding will help purchase research equipment that will promote KU's effort of obtaining designation as a national cancer center.

Having the equipment, he said, puts KU in a stronger position to get more federal research projects to work on potential new drugs for cancer treatment, prevention and control.

"It fits in with the whole drug discovery strategy that we have," he said.

In addition, $2.8 million in federal funding will go toward improving the road below Clinton Lake dam, Boyda said.

Lew Ruona, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Clinton Lake, said the 18-foot-wide road is too narrow.

"We want to widen it and overlay it," he said.

But the big ticket spending in the district, which includes Leavenworth County, went to the military.

Fort Leavenworth will receive $55 million for construction of a barracks complex and $11.6 million for the initial phase of a chapel complex.

Boyda said passage of the appropriations bill was "bittersweet" because while it provided needed funding for law enforcement, road and infrastructure improvements and strengthening military bases, it failed to address numerous other needs.

"This isn't a perfect bill, and it should have been much better," Boyda said.

She said the House passed a bill to fix the Social Security disability backlog, but it was vetoed by President Bush. And, she said, Democrats approved a bill to fully fund changes under the military base realignment and closure process, but then "it got bogged down in politics."

- Staff writer Chad Lawhorn contributed to this report.

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