POSTED: Monday, February 4, 2013 - 4:25pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 4, 2013 - 6:47pm
AUSTIN, TEXAS (NEWS CENTER 23) — A big step for the Rio Grande Valley Monday. House Bill 1000 and Senate Bill 24 were filed.
Members of the Rio Grande Valley Delegation were in Austin to file legislation to create a new university through the Texas System that will include a medical school in South Texas.
The new university will merge the University of Texas Pan American and the University of Texas at Brownsville.
"The Rio Grande Valley will be on its way to be a global center for multi-national education, medicine, and industry with the passage to this legislation, it's not only important to South Texas but important to the state as a whole" said Senator Eddie Lucio Jr.
State representative Rene Oliviera is one of co-authors of House Bill 1000 who has pushed hard to make this dream a reality.
"It is something we have really dreamed about and we have fought for our far share of resources, the way I see it is our turn our time and we can make this happen." Said Oliviera.
The new university would bring 7,000-10,000 jobs with an average salary of $63,000.
University of Texas at system chancellor Francisco Cigarroa expressed the importance of creating this new university.
"It's about providing the children of south Texas and and Texas greater opportunities to reach their full potential to really improve the quality of live through better health." Said Cigarroa.
State representative J.M. Lozano outlined the critical need for a medical school especially with the high number of diabetes and cancer patients in the valley.
"Rio Grande Valley has twice the rate of diabetes twice the rate of cancer national averages so when the region like the Rio Grande Valley has only a doctor per 200 people when the national averages is every 1 per 100 hundred it's obvious they need medical research medical school residents who 75% stay within 30 miles of that medical school and this will speak volumes to health and future of the Rio Grande Valley."
It's still unclear where exactly the new university would be located in south Texas.
In order for the bills to go through they need 2/3 of the vote at House and Senate.