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Deal of the Year

Top Honor Goes to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

The Bond Buyer Tuesday night presented its Deal of the Year Award for 2009 to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's sale of nearly $1 billion in bonds backed by toll road revenue to pay for expansion of the region's transit system.

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It was recognized, along with nine other regional deals from California to Maine, as part of the newspaper's annual celebration of innovation in municipal finance. There was also an award for Detroit, for restructuring a swap in a way that satisfied counterparties while avoiding putting any more fiscal stress on the financially challenged city.

The event put a spotlight on transactions from around the country that provided economic aid to flood victims and supported housing for senior citizens, schools, health care, transportation, and environmental cleanup.

A unifying theme in remarks throughout the event was one of survival and perseverance on the part of the issuer officials who used the tools of the market, both old and new, to meet the needs of their communities. Several speakers referenced the years of work that went into bringing the winning deals to fruition, including some that had to be postponed after 2008's market disruptions.

The winning deal, which is helping to pay to complete a vision first imagined when President John F. Kennedy dedicated Washington Dulles International Airport 47 years ago, used an array of financing tools developed as recently as this year.

The evening also recognized the significance of the new tools created by the federal government in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — including Build America Bonds and Qualified School Contruction Bonds.

The event also raised $5,000 for the Smile Train, the world's largest charity providing cleft lip and cleft palate surgery to children in need around the world.

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