WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is making clear the Obama administration is committed to funding and promoting the use of ports, which credit rating analysts said have the potential to improve the financial strength of port bond issuers that are under pressure amid the economic downturn.

About 17 bond issues totaling $1.54 billion have been sold for port facilities so far this year. Nearly 200 issues totaling $12.5 billion have been sold for port facilities since 2004.

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