Ohio Turnpike to sell $1 billion bonds this summer

April 2 Tue Apr 2, 2013 5:29pm EDT

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April 2 (Reuters) - The Ohio Turnpike Commission will sell up to $1 billion of revenue bonds this summer, an official said on Tuesday.

Rick Hodges, the turnpike's executive director, said the commission will pick underwriters for the negotiated deal at its meeting next week.

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law on Monday a bill authorizing the sale of $1.5 billion of bonds backed by turnpike revenue along with the state's two-year transportation budget.

Hodges said the remaining $500 million of bonds would be sold in three to four years. Proceeds from the bonds will fund transportation projects related to and within 75 miles of the turnpike, he added.

Kasich unveiled a plan to tap excess turnpike revenue for the bonds in December after he rejected the option of leasing the 241-mile toll road to a private entity.

Fitch Ratings said in January that the plan was not expected to negatively impact the turnpike's AA-rated outstanding debt.

Under the new law, the Turnpike Commission will have expanded authority and a new name - the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, effective July 1.

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