Governor proposes $2.43 billion bond package for projects

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to include a bond package totaling more than $2 billion in his two-year budget proposal to fund research, economic development infrastructure and other projects.

McAuliffe announced the bond package on Wednesday at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. The bond package includes about $849 million for research, campus infrastructure and other projects at Virginia's four-year higher education institutions, the governor said in a news release.

Another $214 million would support building classroom capacity at community colleges in science, technology and math-related fields.

The bond package also includes $350 million to enhance Norfolk International Terminals' capacity and operations.

Other projects include $140 million for state parks, $100 million over two years in competitive grants for research activities and $29.3 million for construction of a second veteran's care center.

"The bond package I will include in my budget will provide funding for targeted projects that will all contribute to our efforts to grow and diversify our Commonwealth's economy. If we are going to build a new Virginia economy, we must make smart investments in research, higher education, veterans, public safety, tourism and environmental stewardship that will yield returns for decades to come," McAuliffe said in the release.

Matt Moran, a spokesman for House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, said in a statement that it would be premature to comment "with great detail" on the bond package. He said House leaders are "willing to look at strategic and targeted capital investments, but maintaining Virginia's AAA bond rating and avoiding unnecessary debt are also top priorities," the Richmond Times-Dispatch ( ) reported.

McAuliffe plans to present his budget proposal to lawmakers on Dec. 17.

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