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      Hidalgo County Mayors stand by medical school split decision

      Hidalgo County Mayors gathered today to commend a decision made yesterday by a state senate committee to create a split campus for the proposed South Texas medical school.

      I can assure you that 100 percent of our valley communities, all 12 of them have indicated their support for a South Texas medical school, Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said.

      The amendment would designate the first two years of the medical school to the University of Texas Pan-American campus and the second two year to the University of Texas Brownsville campus.

      The state would pay $30 million a year to fund the new school, but officials say it will cost between $40 to $60 million a year to operate it.

      Local leaders say a tax would be needed to foot the bill.

      Hidalgo County has double the tax base of Cameron County.

      It TMs only fair that their investment have an impact in their community, Garcia said.

      House Bill 1000 would also join both the UTPA campus with the UTB campus giving the schools access to the Permanent University Fund.

      Opponents of the split campus say the decision has put the bill in jeopardy of not passing sacrificing the chances of the two schools gaining access to billions of dollars.

      I believe everyone is untied in making sure that this legislation is introduced and it goes through the process, Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza Jr. said.

      Another concern is the distance between the two campuses.

      Judge Garcia referred to the Texas A&M medical school which is split between the main campus and a site in Temple, TX.

      There is about a 80 mile difference between the 2 campuses but they have been doing well. Ours is a lot closer, Judge Garcia said.

      The bill now moves to the Texas Senate for a vote.