Georgia keeps AAA rating, sells $1.37 billion in construction bonds

.The state sold $1.37 billion in construction bonds Wednesday while announcing that it had maintained the AAA credit rating it needed to get low interest rates on the debt.

Much of the money will go toward construction projects on college, technical school and K12 campuses over the next year or so.

Other bonds were sold to pay for road, bridge and water projects across the state.

Georgia is one of 11 states with a AAA rating from the three main credit-rating agencies. That rating can save the state tens of millions of dollars a year in interest payments on state debt, so it’s frequently touted by statehouse leaders.

“The state of Georgia works diligently to hold onto its coveted AAA rating each year,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Homeowners avoid paying excessive interest on mortgages, college students prefer low-interest loans and we as a state strive to avoid paying more interest on our bonds than we already must do.

“I am proud that our fiscal responsibility can translate into a better use of taxpayer resources.”

Deal and state lawmakers this year approved record borrowing and construction spending during the 2016 session, bolstered by new gas and hotel taxes the General Assembly backed last year to pay for transportation projects.

Besides selling new construction bonds Wednesday, the state resold older debt from the mid-2000s at lower interest rates, saving more than $88 million in interest payments.