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Tappan Zee Bridge Bonding Starts

JAN 25, 2013 3:33pm ET
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The New York State Thruway Authority has started the bonding process for a new Tappan Zee bridge.

On Thursday the authority approved selling $500 million in notes for the bridge. The notes are to be sold in the coming weeks and will mature on July 31.

The authority expects to increase tolls to pay for the new bridge.

“We’re confident about getting TIFIA support,” said Dan Weiler, authority spokesman, referring to a federal low-interest loan for the bridge. The authority has already approved for this loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. The authority has received positive feedback about its chances of getting the TIFIA loan, Weiler said.

The current bridge crosses the Hudson River about 15 miles north of New York City.

In mid-December the authority approved the lowest priced design option for a new Tappan Zee bridge. The authority expects the bridge to cost $3.14 billion plus $600 to $800 million for project financing and management, oversight, contingencies and aesthetic improvements.

Some of the reasons the authority gives for needing a new bridge are the current bridge’s high accident rate, excessive traffic for its number of lanes, lack of emergency lanes, and anticipated high costs of maintenance over the next 20 years.

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A recent phenomenon is the emergence of bonds with shorter call protection as funding alternatives for municipalities. However, the shorter call protection also dampens the potential upside for investors, which in turn reduces the price they are willing to pay.

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