Sep 16, 2011 6:48 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State lawmakers are deciding whether to back spending plans for a new $1.1 billion research and teaching hospital in New Orleans, to replace Charity Hospital.
Approval by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget is the last significant hurdle stalling the hospital's construction. House Speaker Jim Tucker says he thinks the committee likely will approve the business plan for the hospital Friday.
The facility has been on the drawing board for six years, and lawmakers have disagreed about its size and scope.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is backing a new construction plan for the 424-bed public hospital that wouldn't require state-backed borrowing, and that's the proposal to be considered Friday by lawmakers. It includes a mix of already earmarked state financing, federal hurricane recovery funds and third-party dollars.