Amid budget crunch, Colorado nets much-needed windfall for road projects with strong debt sale
For once, some good budget news.
Colorado received a $111 million premium on a debt issuance of $500 million, thanks to strong investor demand for state-issued debt.
As a result, budget writers say that $100 million in planned cuts to the Colorado Department of Transportation over the next two years — and some additional cuts likely to come — will be at least partially offset by an investment market that has largely shrugged off America’s broader economic malaise.
“We’re not going to be making any more progress (on transportation) than normal — but we’re not sliding backwards either,” said Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, an Arvada Democrat who serves on the Joint Budget Committee, in an interview.
The “certificates of participation” — authorized in 2017’s Senate Bill 267— are a form of debt in which the state effectively takes out a mortgage on government-owned buildings in order to fund construction projects. Investors purchase the certificates, much like they would government bonds, with the assurance that the state of Colorado will repay them over time with interest.
Lawmakers initially authorized $1.88 billion in total certificates to fund transportation projects, issued in four installments.
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