The state agency in charge of bond sales Wednesday approved the sale of nearly $1.1 billion in general obligation bonds to finance a variety of building projects.

The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission acted two weeks after the three main credit rating agencies renewed the state’s AAA credit rating, allowing favorable interest rates that will save tax money.

“This bond sale allows us to build and update various infrastructure projects and create good-paying jobs for hardworking Georgians across the state,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a prepared statement.

“Due to low interest rates here in the Peach State, we will be saving taxpayers dollars for years to come while also ensuring Georgia continues to lead the nation in economic recovery.”

The bonds were sold on a competitive basis through four different bids with investors showing high demand for them. The overall interest rate for the bonds was 1.74%,  the second-lowest ever for an issue of the state’s general obligation bonds.

“We are extremely pleased with the bids we received,” said Diana Pope, director of the commission’s Financing and Investment Division. “As we approached the sale date, the bond market was demonstrating a lot of strength, but it proved to be even stronger than we were expecting.”

The largest portion of the funding provides $304.7 million for K-12 school construction projects. Another $250.9 million will go toward building projects on University System of Georgia campuses.

Public safety-related agencies will receive almost $156 million for buildings and equipment, and $112.9 million is earmarked for the Technical College System of Georgia. The state Department of Transportation will put $112.5 million toward road, bridge and rail projects.

The expansion of the Savannah Convention Center will get $90 million, the largest single project to benefit from the new bonds. The state kicked in $70 million toward the $271 million project last year.

The expansion, which broke ground in March, will double the current exhibit hall space to 200,000 square feet and include a 58-foot-wide hangar door, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, 15 additional meeting rooms, and a 900-space on-site parking garage.

Dave Williams is a writer for Capitol Beat News Service

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