After a turbulent trip through the Arizona Senate, the $440-million university research bill passed the House yesterday by a 35-17 vote, sending the legislation to Governor Janet Napolitano, who strongly supports the measure.
A day earlier, the bill passed the Senate after being stalled for weeks and often used a tool to gain political leverage on the state budget. The key provision that unlocked the impasse was a late amendment requiring the universities to cover state funding through profits generated from patents, royalties and equity shares. State expenses will total up to $34 million annually from 2007 to 2030.
The legislation authorizes immediate construction of at least a dozen buildings at Arizona State University’s main, east, and west campuses; the University of Arizona, including a Phoenix-based medical research building; and Northern Arizona University, including a science building in Yuma. The state would allocate annually about $14.5 million to ASU, $14.2 million to UA, and $6 million to NAU.
The universities have planned the following projects:
- Arizona State University: $185 million to continue building the Arizona Biodesign Institute and to create facilities for research programs at ASU West and East.
- University of Arizona: $182 million to construct three buildings and expand another; one of the new projects would be a Phoenix-based medical research building of the Arizona Health Sciences Center that would tie into the Translational Genomics Research Institute.
- Northern Arizona University: $73 million for to build an applied research and design building, remodel outdated research facilities, and build the NAU Yuma Science Building in Yuma in conjunction with Arizona Western College.
On the day of the House vote, the Arizona Board of Regents approved construction at UA of a $65-million, 170,000-square-foot Institute of Biomedical Science and Biotechnology building and a $54-million, 135,000-square-foot Medical Research Building.
Proponents of the measure say it will boost the state’s economy by attracting federal grants, generating new jobs, and further developing the state’s growing biosciences economy. Opponents had argued that it is too costly and risky, especially during a time of large state budget deficits.
“Universities get $440 million to build research labs,” Arizona Daily Sun, 6/20/03
“Senate OKs funds for university labs,” Arizona Republic, 6/19/03