AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin will drop its proposed infrastructure charge as a result of Texas Attorney General John Cornyn’s decision on the legality of the charge, President Larry R. Faulkner announced today (July 16).
The infrastructure charge would have provided $11.8 million of additional recurring income in the next fiscal year, growing to about $33.6 million in five years to address critical repair, renovation and capital construction needs of the university principally resulting from deterioration due to age. Faulkner said the university would work with legislators, student leaders and others to find alternative ways to fund these needs.
Cornyn ruled last week that the infrastructure charge could not be levied to the extent that it duplicated a building use fee first introduced in 1969.
“In response to the attorney general’s decision, we examined the university’s historical application of the building use fee and determined that substantially all of the amounts collected were spent on capital projects,” Faulkner said. “Given historical practice and the attorney general’s opinion, we believe the infrastructure charge could possibly be assessed to fund non-capital repair and renovation. However, we also believe the distinction between capital and non-capital projects is not sufficiently clear to gain broad acceptance. Therefore, we have elected not to move forward with assessing the charge.
“Our budgetary and management challenges remain, and we must address them,” Faulkner said. “We will explore all options available to us to insure a viable financial future for the university.”