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Deal of The Year

California Power Agency Wins Deal of the Year Award for Wind Project

The Southern California Public Power Authority’s $237.24 million of Milford Wind Corridor Phase I Project revenue bonds won The Bond Buyer’s Deal of the Year award Thursday night.

The deal, which already has been replicated to fund another wind project, financed prepayment for electric energy output from a wind energy project located near Milford, Utah. The transaction also won the regional Deal of the Year award for a deal by a large issuer in the Far West region.

“We felt this deal, this year, highlighted the kind of things that can be accomplished when the public sector and private sector bring their talents to the table,” said Amy B. Resnick, editor in chief of The Bond Buyer, who presented the award at a ceremony at the Essex House hotel in Manhattan. “It also showed how renewable energy — which is going to be critical to our economy and environment going forward — can be financed at competitive rates.”

The awards program, now in its ninth year, recognized some of the country’s most innovative municipal bond issuers for transactions financing a range of projects, including transportation, schools, water and sewer systems, a hospital, economic development through investment in biomedical and scientific research, wind energy, and public pensions.

The program also raised $10,000 to support gastrointestinal cancer research at the University of California San Francisco in the name of Amy Doppelt, a longtime municipal analyst with Fitch Ratings who died this month. The 2010 nominees and finalists included issuers in each region that utilized the taxable Build America Bond and other stimulus programs created by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The 2010 awards, which considered deals that closed between Oct. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010, drew nearly 80 nominations for transactions ranging in size from more than a billion dollars to just a few million.

Two finalists were selected from each region as covered by The Bond Buyer. Issuers were divided into large and small categories on the basis of the gross revenue of the issuer or the entity financed in its most recent fiscal year. Small deals were completed by issuers, or beneficiaries, with annual revenue of $70 million or less.

The entries were evaluated in October by The Bond Buyer’s editors and bureau chiefs, who looked for innovation, efforts by government issuers to accomplish their goals in challenging times, craft a deal that could serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which transaction proceeds were used.

The newspaper also selected a winner for its award for nontraditional public finance transactions, which was open to deals that did not use traditional municipal securities. The award, which was presented for the first time in 2006, reflects the growth of this nontraditional sector.

The regional winners were:

Northeast

The New York Liberty Development Corp. for its $650 million of second priority Liberty revenue refunding bonds.

The New York Municipal Bond Bank Agency’s $184.24 million of Recovery Act bonds that included tax-exempt bonds, Build America Bonds, and recovery zone bonds.

Southwest

The Regional Transportation District of Denver’s $397.84 million of tax-exempt private-activity bonds for the Eagle P3 Project, the first public-private partnership for passenger rail in the United States. The project includes a long-term concession to design, build, finance, operate and maintain two rail corridors in the area.

The La Vernia Higher Education Finance Corp.’s $65.18 million of education revenue bonds, Series 2009A, and $1.690 million of taxable education revenue bonds, Series 2009B, for KIPP Inc. charter school facilities.

Midwest

The Indianapolis Local Public Improvement Bond Bank for its $159.52 million of PILOT infrastructure project bonds that are part of the sale and transfer of the city’s water and sewer systems to nonprofit Citizens Energy Group.

The Baraga County Memorial Hospital for its $25 million of taxable revenue Build America Bonds, Series 2010A, and $3.6 million of taxable revenue bonds, Series 2010B, for a new, nonrated 15-bed hospital in rural northern L’Anse, Mich.

Southeast

The Kentucky Asset/Liability Commission for its $467.55 million issue consisting entirely of taxable funding notes to refinance internal loans owed by the commonwealth to the state Teachers Retirement System.

The city of Port St. Lucie, Fla., for its $64.04 million of tax-exempt research facilities revenue bonds, Series 2010, for the Oregon Health and Science University Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute Florida Corp. project as part of a job-creation and commercial-development effort.

Far West

The California School Finance Authority for its $12 million direct-subsidy qualified school construction revenue bond issue to fund building a K-8 charter school facility on the Chula Vista campus of High Tech High.

Nontraditional Financing

The $1 billion Port of Miami tunnel project and MAT Concessionaire LLC, for the design, build, finance, operate and maintain contract to build a tunnel that provides two lanes of traffic for large cargo trucks and cruise-ship passenger buses going to and from the port, bypassing downtown Miami. The multi-modal concession uses the second availability payment scheme in Florida and the U.S.

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