In the largest competitive deal so far this year, triple-A rated Wake County, N.C., is expected to sell $502.4 million of general obligation bonds tomorrow to finance school construction and refund older bonds.

The deal illustrates Wake's financial strength among issuers as several triple-A states have turned to negotiated deals. Maryland, Utah, and Georgia recently switched tactics and sold GO bonds in negotiated deals, which traditionally are more expensive for the issuer. The par amount on competitive deals fell 34.4% in the first two months of 2009 from last year.

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