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Bond funds to pay for Oklahoma road projects

Bond funds to pay for Oklahoma road projects


AGENCIES: Resolution permits sales, which could bring in $150 million

Published: July 23, 2009

Oklahoma could see an additional $150 million for road projects after bonds are sold later this year.

The Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority on Wednesday approved a resolution that allows financial advisers hired by the authority to sell bonds on behalf of the state.

The group plans to sell about $152 million in bonds, so the sale will yield about $150 million that will be used for road and bridge projects by the Department of Transportation. The bonds are expected to be sold by Sept. 1.

The bonds would be Build America Bonds, which are subsidized by the federal government and must be used only to fund nonprofit and government projects.

The interest rate on the bonds is not to exceed 7 percent, said Lynn Rogers, assistant attorney general who presented the bond sale resolution to the board.

This is the second cash infusion for Oklahoma roads this year. The state earlier got about $465 million in federal stimulus dollars for road and bridge projects. About 82 percent of the federal stimulus money has been allocated to pay contractors doing construction work now, said Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley.

Ridley said money from the new bond issue could be put to use as early as spring. The funds would pay for projects already included in the Department of Transportation’s eight-year construction plan.

"Those projects are part of our critical needs list,” Ridley said. "These projects are worthwhile and have been well-vetted.”

The $150 million bond issue is one of two bond issues authorized by the Legislature in 2008. Lawmakers passed a measure authorizing a $300 million in bond issues.

The sale approved Wednesday is the first half of the sale. The second sale for bonds worth $150 million is expected to happen next year.

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