Wisconsin Plans Biggest Transport Borrowing for Highways

Wisconsin is set to issue as much as $393.6 million of revenue bonds today in its biggest transportation borrowing ever.

The debt is backed by vehicle registration fees, according to bond documents. The transaction includes $270 million of securities to finance highway projects and $41 million to refund debt. Officials may also sell $82.7 million to refinance bonds maturing further out, putting the proceeds in escrow until the debt can be repaid, Kevin Taylor, the state’s capital finance director, said in an interview.

If the state issues the entire amount, it would be the largest transportation-revenue borrowing ever for Wisconsin, Taylor said. Kroll Bond Rating assigns the deal its highest grade, the best rating for a state credit in about 30 years, Taylor said. Standard & Poor’s ranks the sale one step below benchmark municipals.

Debt sold for transportation projects has earned 3.7 percent this year through March 18, compared with a 3.3 percent gain for the broader municipal market, according to Barclays Plc data.

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