SANDAG issues $335M for Mid-Coast Trolley completion

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Association of Governments announced Friday that it issued $335 million in bonds to finance the completion of the Mid-Coast Trolley Blue Line Extension.

The Series 2019 Capital Grant Receipt Revenue Bonds will help the agency pay for the $2.17 billion project, $1.04 billion of which is being supplied by Federal Transit Administration grants from federal fiscal year 2016 to 2026. The agency sold the bonds July 30 to 51 separate investors, who made roughly $3.1 billion in orders.

According to SANDAG, the bonds will mature from 2023 to 2027 with an all-in borrowing cost of about 1.91%. The agency plans to repay the bonds’ principal and interest with funds received from the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program through a federal grant agreement.

“The bonds were issued at a low borrowing cost, which will allow us to maximize the use of federal dollars for the project,” SANDAG Chair and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said. “The Mid-Coast Trolley project is the largest transit project in the San Diego region’s history, and once complete, San Diegans will feel the positive impact for generations to come.”

The project includes an 11-mile extension of trolley service by San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System from Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego to University City. The extension will add nine trolley stops in areas like Mission Bay Park, UC San Diego and Westfield UTC.

In addition to the bond sales and federal grants, the project is being partially funded by TransNet, the region’s half-cent tax on public transit fares that SANDAG administers. The Mid-Coast trolley line is expected to open by 2021.

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