Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Bridge and transit bonds sold at low rates

Georgia's excellent bond rating has allowed the state to secure low-interest rates for a total of $1.28 billion in bonds, a hefty chunk of which will go toward repairing bridges and enhancing transit.

Georgia is one of only 10 states with a AAA bond rating -- the highest rating available, which is indicative of sound fiscal management -- from the three main credit-rating agencies (Moody's Fitch and Standard & Poor's).

The bond package sold earlier this month is the largest since former Gov. Sonny Perdue escalated borrowing during the recession to create sorely needed construction jobs. Roughly a sixth of the money -- about $186 million -- will pay for bridge repairs and transit projects, which were major priorities during the last legislative session. The transit money will be distributed among the 128 eligible transit providers in Georgia in the form of grants in a process that is still being determined by the State Road and Tollway Authority.

The bonds will also fund the final $35 million for the Savannah Harbor deepening project. A complete list of funded projects is available on the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission website.

The state acquired rates of 1.21 percent for the five-year tax-exempt bonds,

1.93 percent for the 10-year tax-exempt bonds and 3.08 percent for the 20-year tax-exempt bonds, with a blended rate of 2.98 percent for the tax-exempt bonds.

Some bonds were sold as federally taxable bonds, with those rates at 1.68 percent for the five-year taxable bonds, 2.59 percent for the 10-year taxable bonds and 3.77 percent for the 20-year taxable bonds, with a blended rate of 3.55 percent for the federally taxable bonds.

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