Turner Files Bills to Address Crumbling State Agency and Higher Education Buildings

Measures would allocate $1 billion to address holes in walls, leaking ceilings and rat infestations

Austin — Yesterday, State Representative Chris Turner filed two measures, HB 2841 and HB 2842, to provide funding to fix state agency and university buildings in dire need of repair. Each measure would transfer $500 million from the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to pay for needed renovations.

In a request to members of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Texas Facilities Commission estimated needed state building repairs, ranging from critical to recommended, could cost nearly one billion dollars.

According to the most recent deferred maintenance report, which was released in 2012 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, needs for state institutions of higher learning top $740 million.

“I was appalled when I heard reports of holes being repaired using toilet paper and buildings with bat and rat infestations,” said Turner. “If your roof is leaking, you wouldn’t wait to fix it. You would take money out of your savings account and take care of it before it got worse. Many of our state agency and institutions of higher education are beyond leaky roofs, and the longer we wait to fix them, the more it will cost.”

“With a robust economy and money in our state’s Rainy Day Fund, now is the time to address these needs and to make these buildings safer for residents, students, visitors, and employees,” said Turner.

According to a December 2014 Facilities Commission’s report, “if needed maintenance is not completed in one year, then the costs of maintenance, repair, or replacement are significantly higher in subsequent years. Asset management studies have shown that if routine preventative maintenance is not performed, then repairs equaling five times the maintenance costs are generally required. In turn, if repairs are not completed, expenses of renovation or replacement can be five times the repair costs.”

HB 2841 would appropriate $500 million to address deferred maintenance needs at state institutions of higher education. HB 2842 would appropriate $500 million for maintenance, renovation, and repair of state buildings.

The Economic Stabilization Fund is expected to have a $11.1 billion balance by FY 2017.