Boston, MA. The Bond Buyer recognized the Commonwealth of Massachusetts billion-dollar accelerated bridge program as 2011 Deal of the Year. The deal was recognized for its creativity in providing a solution for a clear public purpose—safe bridges throughout the region.
Nixon Peabody LLP served as bond counsel to the Commonwealth on two federal grant anticipation note financings in December 2010 as part of the bridge program. These served to restructure an existing credit and clear the path to create two new more highly rated credits to provide the most efficient and economical funding mechanism for future transportation needs.
Additionally, Nixon Peabody amended an existing 1998 trust agreement to subordinate a contingent sales tax pledge, which allowed for the creation of a first lien on those taxes for the new Commonwealth Transportation Fund credit. The firm then established the new federal grant anticipation note credit for the accelerated bridge program that is additionally secured by a subordinate pledge on the revenues pledged under the Commonwealth Transportation Fund credit. The firm worked with existing bond insurers to obtain their consent and assisted the Commonwealth at its rating agency presentations. Michael Vaccari, Kenneth Lind, Mitch Rapaport, and Bruce Serchuk had principal responsibility on these financings. Since 2006, Nixon Peabody has played a role in four winning Bond Buyer Deal of the Year submissions.
In being selected as Northeast Regional Deal of the Year, the bridge project earned a spot among the other finalists for the Deal of the Year, other deals selected from each region of the U.S. in categories for both large and small issuers. Honorees were cited by the publication’s editors for their innovation, efforts to accomplish their goals in challenging times, and the ability for a deal to serve as a model for other financings. Other nominees, which included financings for transportation, health care facilities, highways and toll roads, sewer projects, airports, hydroelectric and alternative energy projects, convention centers, and more, were recognized for representing some of the country’s most innovative municipal bond issues. The 2011 awards, which considered deals that priced between October 1, 2010, and September 30, 2011, drew more than 80 nominations for transactions ranging in size from five to several billion dollars.