CHICAGO - Efforts to tap the $14 billion Midwestern Disaster Area Bond program are picking up steam in Iowa and Wisconsin, with at least one financing completed and a handful of projects in the pipeline nearly one year after its creation by the federal government to aid in redeveloping areas damaged by spring 2008 storms.

The two states in recent months have put in place procedures for using the program. The Iowa Finance Authority may have been the first in the Midwest to tap the program when it sold $74 million of tax-exempt qualified MDBs in June on behalf of Cargill Inc. The issuer is working on another $100 million deal for the company, said the authority's director of community development, Lori Beary. A handful of other potential borrowers are also looking at using the program through the IFA.

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