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Texas Universities Seeking Billions For Construction

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Several Texas universities are seeking money from the Legislature to build and update facilities on their campuses.

Among the colleges hoping to receive funding for bonds from state lawmakers are Texas State University, the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.

Those three schools are collectively seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for their construction projects according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Officials at Texas State say they need $107 million to build an engineering and science building at the San Marcos campus and $67.5 million for a health professions building in Round Rock.

UT leaders are seeking $100 million to renovate a chemistry building and $105 million for business school upgrades.

Texas A&M University hopes to get $85 million for an advanced biocontainment lab to study disease-causing organisms and $90 million for a new classroom building and other campus renovations.

The schools are pursuing bonds known as tuition revenue bonds in which the universities agree to pay back the principal and interest with tuition. But the Legislature has had a history of covering the debt with general revenue funds.

The last time state legislators approved a major round of such bonds was in 2006 for nearly $2 billion.

But it's unclear whether state legislators will be in the mood to distribute funds when the legislative session starts next year.

During last year's session, a package of about $2.7 billion in bonds failed because lawmakers couldn't agree on how much should be allocated to various universities.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry also declined adding such bonds to the legislative agenda in the next three special sessions.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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