WASHINGTON - Thirty-four states have issued $17.4 billion of Build America Bonds since the program began in April, the Treasury Department announced yesterday.

Although bleak economic data has encouraged Republican opponents to criticize the Obama administration's efforts to turn around the economy - most notably the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - Treasury said that early market reception for BABs "has been very positive."

BABs, which were authorized under the ARRA, accounted for about 16.6% of all municipal bonds issued since mid-April, the department said.

"Creating the conditions for an economic recovery also requires addressing the challenges facing state and local governments," said Alan Krueger, Treasury's assistant secretary of economic policy.

"The [BAB] program is an innovative program that will help states and local governments that seek to finance building projects to turn things around by providing financing for projects at lower costs. By supporting the construction of schools, hospitals, roads, and environmental projects, the Build America Bonds program is helping communities build a foundation for a stronger economic future."

The Treasury also attached to the release a list of all 178 BAB deals done nationwide thus far.

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