Gov. Nathan Deal announced a record bond sale for the state, with the state borrowing $1.4 billion for various construction projects. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Georgia borrows record $1.4 billion for schools, colleges, bridges

The state of Georgia sold a record $1.4 billion in bonds this week, borrowing money for dozens of construction projects across the state.

The bond sale is the largest in state history.

Much of the money will go for K-12 school and university construction projects in metro Atlanta and the rest of the state. However, other borrowing will help pay for libraries, a new crime lab in Savannah, and bridge repairs across Georgia.

The bond package includes $105 million in borrowing to build a new state courts building on the Atlanta site of the former archives building, which was imploded in March. The building, down the street from the Capitol and near the downtown connector, will be among the most expensive state-funded buildings in history.

The bond package also includes $73 million more to complete a new technical college campus in Gov. Nathan Deal’s home county of Hall.

Deal had added $10 million to the budget in 2015 to buy the land and $48.3 million last year to get the construction started. With the bond sale, the state will have borrowed more than $130 million to move Lanier Technical College from one end of the county to the other and create a new campus.

The state also resold some of its debt from earlier years at lower interest rates, saving almost $44 million in long-term payments.

Georgia is one of nine states with a AAA bond rating given to financially stable states by bond-rating agencies. That allows the state to borrow at relatively low rates.

Georgia has had that top bond rating for 20 years. The fact that the state continues to maintain the rating wasn’t a surprise, with the economy growing, state revenues increasing and a budget surplus expected again when the fiscal year ends June 30.

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