The Louisiana State Bond Commission Thursday will review the first tranche from a new state bond program to finance upgrades of state roads in rural areas.

The bonds are supported by half of the revenue in the State Highway Improvement Fund.

A law passed by the 2012 Legislature authorized the bonds to fund state roads not eligible for federal highway assistance.

Lawmakers approved $325 million of bonds for the three-year program, which will receive $75 million of state revenues directly from the highway fund. The fund also receives $50 million to $60 million a year from driver’s license fees and commercial vehicle registrations.

Plans call for the bonds to be issued in tranches of $100 million in fiscal 2013 and 2014, and $125 million in 2015.

The Bond Commission in June authorized the state to seek underwriters and bond counsel for the road bond program. At the time, Treasurer John Kennedy, chairman of the commission, urged the Department of Transportation and Economic Development to sell the bonds quickly due to low interest rates.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said the initial $150 million will allow the state to modernize 360 miles of road in 80 projects as well as repair more than 1,100 miles in rural parishes.

“These investments will upgrade roads that in some cases have not been repaired in 30 years to help make our state more attractive for new business investments, and most importantly, to make our roads safer for our families,” Jindal said.

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