Transportation borrowing gets green light in NY

| 8/9/2005

A new debt refinancing agreement giving New York state $1.2 billion for roads and bridges in the next five years was reached Aug. 2 between Gov. George Pataki and the state’s comptroller.

Last month, Comptroller Alan Hevesi, a Democrat, put the kibosh on a proposed $2.9 billion borrowing – or loan – by the New York Thruway Authority, saying it would cost taxpayers $460 million in the long run, The Associated Press reported.

In retaliation, Republican Gov. George Pataki stopped handing out transportation contracts, saying the whole five-year, $17.9 billion bridge and road spending plan OK’d by state lawmakers and the governor had to be reworked without that money.

The new deal reached last week, delays payments to the final 15 years of the bonds, but are $1.7 billion less than before, The AP reported. It includes using $300 million in debt service reserve funds upfront for projects during the next five years.

The agreement puts planned projects back in motion.

The bonds agreed to by Pataki and Hevesi are separate from the $2.9 billion Transportation Bond Act that voters will decide on this November.