WASHINGTON—In some places, April showers may indeed bring May flowers. But in this town the vegetation must compete with the lobbyists, who appear in droves each spring to plead for their favorite projects as part of.the annual federal budget process.

This year, advocates of the superconducting supercollider (SSC) are hoping to avoid last year’s bitter harvest, when Congress refused to spend anything to begin preparing for construction and instead retained level funding—$98 million this year—for continued development of the 10,000 superconducting magnets and related research. That decision forced the Department of Energy to extend by two years the completion date for the $6 billion accelerator, to 1998. This year President Bush has requested $250 million, with $160 million for construction, but advocates are worried that history will repeat itself and the project will be further delayed.

To prevent that from happening, proponents are pushing to extend their base of support...

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