A House subcommittee has approved $100 million for the $4.4 billion super conducting supercollider physics proj-ect but barred use of the money for construction and equipment.
"We feel like the $100 million is adequate to hold the team together, the scientists, and also to go ahead with the necessary research and all the preliminaries . . . getting ready for construction," said Tom Bevill, D-Ala. and chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on energy. "But we do not intend to start construction on that and put this proj-ect on the credit card."The subcommittee's decision on Wednesday raised the proposed spending from the $60 million it had initially approved for fiscal 1989, which begins Oct. 1. The higher appropriations level had the backing of Democratic and Republican leaders in the House, Bevill said.
President Reagan had asked Congress to approve $363 million for the project, which would use a 53-mile-round particle accelerator to smash subatomic particles into each other. Physicists hope the research will give insight into the basic structure of matter, but also say the project will have practical spinoffs as well.
Supporters argue the super collider is needed to keep the United States competitive in the next century. Opponents say the project would siphon much needed money from other scientific research.
Seven states have been selected as potential sites for the project: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
"Once we're down to a single site, it is going to be even harder to find support for the funding," said Rep. Carl Pursell, R-Mich., the only subcommittee member from a super collider state.
Bevill said, "This money is not to be used for purchasing equipment or starting construction."