House, Senate panels endorse new university for the Valley - Brownsville Herald: News

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House, Senate panels endorse new university for the Valley

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Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 11:10 am | Updated: 4:24 pm, Wed Mar 6, 2013.

AUSTIN (AP) — House and Senate lawmakers have given a boost to creating a new, unified campus for the University of Texas System in the Rio Grande Valley, including a medical school.

In separate votes Wednesday, the House and Senate higher education committees approved bills merging Texas-Pan-American in Edinburg and Texas-Brownsville into a single university. Those bills now to go the full House and Senate for consideration.

"This is another positive step forward in the process. It was well received by Chairman Dan Branch and the Higher Education Committee. We have received strong support for the bill and look forward to bringing it before the full Texas House soon," said State Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville.

A key element to the plan is the medical school, which could bring hundreds of doctors to South Texas where they are desperately needed.

"Senate Bill 24 is history-making for South Texas and will be transformative to the region for future generations. Through their actions today, the Committee members help correct the inequity that exists in this economically-distressed area of the state," said Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville.

Texas system regents have already committed $100 million to the project, but the merger still needs legislative approval. The university would have a predicted enrollment of about 28,000.

For more on this story read Thursday's Brownsville Herald.

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