8-5-2021 – Money OKed for first step in widening U.S. 321

Posted on: August 5th, 2021 by admin

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August 5, 2021

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By News-Topic Staff

Aug 4, 2021

 

A state body has approved issuing bonds to cover initial costs in nine major N.C. Department of Transportation projects, including widening a portion of U.S. 321 from Hickory to Granite Falls.

 

Following Council of State approval in the morning, the Local Government Commission granted the state’s request for up to $300 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bonds for the NCDOT projects. The revenue bonds are issued with a pledge to be paid off later when the state receives Federal Highway Fund reimbursements, which helps to speed up projects. NCDOT officials expect to close on the bond bids in early September.

 

The U.S. 321 project, which would widen the highway to six lanes from U.S. 70 in Hickory to U.S. 321-A in Granite Falls. Right-of-way purchases are underway.

 

It would be the first phase of a larger project to widen U.S. 321 all the way to Lenoir, and the estimated cost of the estimated cost of the first phase is $290 million.

 

Construction once had been planned to begin in 2021 but now is estimated to begin in 2025, according to the State Transportation Improvement Plan.

 

The Local Government Commission helps North Carolina government units at all levels secure low-cost, tax-free financing. It also examines whether the amount of money units borrow is adequate and reasonable for proposed projects, and confirms the governmental units can reasonably afford to repay the debt.

 

This will be the eighth issuance of GARVEE bonds since 2007 and will bring the total outstanding principal to $1.17 billion.

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