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The Fiscal Cliff & MSU's FRIB project

Congress is expected to tackle the ‘fiscal cliff’ after next month’s election.

The “fiscal cliff’s” combination of programmed tax increases and spending cuts have many people concerned, including officials at Michigan State University.

The federal government is supposed to pick up most of the cost of MSU’s new nuclear physics research lab known as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. FRIB is expected to cost more than 600 million dollars.

Mark Burnham is MSU’s vice president for governmental affairs.  He’s optimistic the federal government will continue to make FRIB a priority.  

Burnham points out the project has supporters in the Obama Administration and in Congress.

But if the federal funding becomes a problem, Burnham insists the work on the project that MSU has already done will not have been wasted.

“This is a building that can be used for many, many uses. Whether it be engineering or nuclear physics, or what have you. It’s a facility that has use, regardless whether the project goes forward,” says Burnham.

MSU Trustees showed support for the project on Friday, when they approved spending 15 million dollars on the next component of the project.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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