State sells $72 million in bonds.

More than $72 million in bonds was sold Wednesday to begin construction projects approved by the 2001 Legislature.

Treasurer Brian Krolicki said the state saved $1.3 million over the next 14 years because of "highly competitive bidding on our bonds." He credited the decision earlier this week by the Fitch IBCA, Duff & Phelps rating service to increase the state's bond rating from AA to AA+.

The bonds were broken into three issues, including more than $16 million in natural resources bonds. The bulk of that - $11 million - is for environmental projects at Lake Tahoe.

The largest of the three issues, which sold for more than $55 million, will fund the state's capital improvement program for the coming two years. Of that, $24 million will bond the lease-purchase of the Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Facility, which is currently owned and operated for the state by Corrections Corporation of America.

The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that lease purchase agreements extending over years are constitutional and permissible in Nevada and the purchase of the women's prison is the first time that financial device has been used by the state.

In addition, the money includes start-up costs for projects ranging from university class and lab facilities to the next phase of High Desert Prison in Southern Nevada.

Another $160 million worth of bonds was approved by lawmakers and could be sold to complete those projects over the next 18 months.

The third bond issue was sold for $1.5 million for the Safe Drinking Water Act Revolving Fund to help communities meet the stricter health standards required by that federal legislation.


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