The New York State Thruway Authority approved the sale of up to $920 million of tax-exempt bonds on its Highway and Bridge Trust Fund credit at its monthly board meeting yesterday.

Of that, $450 million would be new money and up to $470 million would be refunding, but Thruway Authority director of investments and asset management Michael Sikule said it would more likely be around $300 million, depending on market conditions.

The authority plans to market the bonds on March 3. The fixed-rate bonds will have maturities up to 20 years. Last year the authority did not refund any trust fund bonds.

"It just wasn't in the money last year," Sikule said. "Rates are definitely a lot lower."

First Southwest Co. is financial adviser and Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP is bond counsel.

Goldman, Sachs, & Co. will lead manage the sale and Bear Stearns & Co., JPMorgan,and UBS Securities LLC will co-manage the sale.

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