BRADENTON, Fla. — North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue has announced a plan to accelerate “urban loop projects” in six cities using grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds.

The Garvees will be used to advance right-of-way purchases or begin construction on projects in Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem, Perdue said last week at the Piedmont Triad Regional Transportation Summit.

“Investing in our state’s infrastructure is about jobs,” she said.

“Not only will it create jobs, but it also will build an efficient transportation network that will attract new businesses and bring more jobs to our state in the future.”

The state Department of Transportation has $400 million of Garvee bond capacity for all of its programs, according to agency spokeswoman Greer Beaty.

Beaty stressed that the acceleration of the loop program announced by Perdue is in a “very early stage” and no information is available about the exact amount of bonds to be sold or the schedule for issuing the debt.

The Local Government Commission, a nine-member panel chaired by North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell, must still review and aprove the bond sales.

The projects to be funded were established in state law with set areas creating roads that loop around the specific urban communities. The urban loop program totals 353 miles, 140 of which are open to traffic.

The DOT receives $150 million a year from the General Assembly but “at that rate of spending it will cost another $8 billion to finish the remaining projects and 50 years,” Beaty said. “Gov. Perdue wants us to expedite these projects and put people to work.

The remaining loop projects are in various stages of development. Some need rights of way to be purchased while others are under construction.

For the locations announced by Purdue, rights of way still needs to be purchased and that process won’t begin until 2012, according to Beaty.

It is estimated that Garvee bonds will accelerate the projects by about two years.

The state has about $434.8 million of outstanding Garvee debt rated AA-minus by Fitch Ratings, Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service, and AA by Standard & Poor’s.

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