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Billion Dollar Babies: Build America Bonds to Build Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Light Rail and Maybe the Convention Center Hotel

The Martin Luther King Jr. station, part of the Green Line expansion
The Martin Luther King Jr. station, part of the Green Line expansion
Dallas Area Rapid Transit

No doubt you've heard of the Build America Bond -- "the financial crisis equivalent of war bonds," says this BusinessWeek explainer from last month, if you haven't. Dallas Area Rapid Transit has certainly heard of 'em, as today it sold $830 million worth of the suckers to expand light rail service. And, on top of that, DART sold $170 million in tax-exempt bonds for a grand total of $1 ... billion ... dollars worth of ka-ching. The Dow Jones wire has the down-to-the-decimal-point details; earlier today, The Bond Buyer said this was shaping up to a sale of historic proportions.

Update: At Monday's Economic Development Committee meeting, Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez and city staff discussed the possibility of using Build America Bonds to fund the $514 million bond issuance for the convention center hotel project.

The parameters bond ordinance expected to get a rubber stamp at Friday's special called council meeting authorizes a "maximum interest yield" of 5.5 percent on the bonds for the hotel deal, as we reported Monday.

This means the city can sell Build America Bonds at a percentage higher than 5.5 with the expectation that reimbursements from the federal government will yield an amount equivalent to or below 5.5.


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