Historic bond sale complete, to generate more than $800 million for Roads to Prosperity transportation infrastructure program
CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia’s largest-ever tax-exempt financing deal has yielded $800 million, plus expected interest, for hundreds of Roads to Prosperity projects statewide, Gov. Jim Justice announced Thursday.
Justice administration officials also secured an attractive, 3.575 percent blended, borrowing interest rate on the series of general obligation state road bonds sold this week. With interest, these road bonds should ultimately leverage $915 million in borrowing for Roads to Prosperity.
“This is a huge step forward in our $2 billion-plus program that is going to absolutely transform West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “The benefits from this are just tremendous – all kinds of construction jobs now and then long-term economic gains from improved roads and bridges.”
Voters overwhelmingly approved this approach to financing massive improvements to the Mountain State’s roadways, passing the necessary bond amendment in an October 2017 special election by approximately 73 percent.
Gov. Justice said this week’s success on Wall Street rewards West Virginians for their vote of confidence. With Roads to Prosperity improvement projects already underway, this historic bond sale further ensures their success.
West Virginia investors helped make this a win. They received preference during Monday’s retail portion of the bond sale. Of the $167.7 million sold to retail investors on May 21, $17 million was purchased by investors with Mountain State ties.
“It is so great that so many West Virginians showed they have faith in where we’re headed by investing in these bonds,” Gov. Justice added. “This is another wonderful example of West Virginians stepping forward to turn this state around.”
The remaining bonds were sold competitively on Wednesday in two batches, with Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch submitting the winning respective bids. This week’s sale represents the first half of the general obligation bond portion of the Roads to Prosperity program.
Based on recent negotiations on Wall Street that included direct meetings with each of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Group, they’ve rated the bonds “Aa2,” “AA-,“ and “AA,” respectively, with Fitch also upgrading its outlook for West Virginia’s general obligation rating to “stable” from “negative.”
Butch Antolini, Butch.Antolini@wv.gov