Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler said the state has saved more than $60 million in the first half of the year by refunding bonds.

In its most recent refinancing, the Oregon Department of Transportation saved 10%, or $20.9 million, in present value after selling more than $200 million of refunding bonds last week.

“The state Treasury is making the most of this historic opportunity, and we are saving Oregonians millions by qualifying for bargain-basement interest rates,” Wheeler said in a statement released Tuesday.

The projects that were included in the original transportation bond issue funded highway and bridge improvements throughout the state as part of the Oregon Transportation Investment Act.

Wheeler said taxpayers also benefitted from Oregon’s strong credit rating, and because voters endorsed lower-cost financing options through Measure 72, approved by state voters in 2010, which expanded Oregon’s ability to issue general obligation bonds as opposed to appropriation-backed bonds .

Last year, Standard & Poor’s analysts upgraded the state’s credit rating to AA-plus from AA, citing tighter budget controls.

Moody’s Investors Service assigns the state’s GO bonds a Aa1 rating. Fitch Ratings rates them an equivalent AA-plus.

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