The Bond Buyer announced the recipients of its annual Deal of the Year awards, marking the 20th year it has recognized outstanding achievement in municipal finance.
It will also mark The Bond Buyer’s return to live events, with an awards ceremony at Guastavino’s in New York City on Dec. 16. This will be The Bond Buyer’s first live event in 22 months and returns Deal of the Year to the in-person format after conducting the 2020 ceremony virtually.
For the third straight year, The Bond Buyer has named winners in 10 categories: five awards in our regional areas of coverage, along with five in additional categories. All award winners are also finalists for the national Deal of the Year award, which will be announced at the close of the Dec. 16 gala.
The Bond Buyer’s editorial board considered a range of factors when judging entries, including: creativity, the ability to pull a complex transaction together under challenging conditions, the ability to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which a deal’s proceeds were used.
“This year’s lineup once again reflects the full range of communities and public purposes this market comprises,” said Mike Scarchilli, Editor in Chief of The Bond Buyer. “The deals honored exemplify the creativity and resourcefulness this industry brings to bear on projects that advance the infrastructure and quality of life in the nation’s municipalities.”
For the 11th year, the Deal of the Year event will also include the presentation of the Freda Johnson Award for Trailblazing Women in Public Finance. This year marks the seventh in which the organization is honoring two public finance professionals; one from the public sector and one from the private. The 2021 honorees are Robin Prunty, chief analytical officer, U.S. Public Finance at S&P Global Ratings, and Arlesa Wood, director of bond administration for Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Here are the 2021 Deal of the Year award winners:
The City of Detroit’s $175 million offering of tax-exempt and taxable social bonds is the winner in the Midwest. Proceeds from the sale will contribute to neighborhood improvement and blight remediation projects throughout the city, making it one of the rare uses of municipal bonds to fund urban blight removal, allowing the city to reach every neighborhood.
The Southwest winner is a $26.1 million issuance of taxable gas system revenue bonds by the City of Grey Forest, Texas. The transaction established a model that can be replicated, both for other Texas communities facing stress from storms like Winter Storm Uri, and for other cities and utility systems that face an increasing risk of natural disaster.
The Northeast winner is the $1.24 billion Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority payroll mobility tax senior lean deal for MTA Bridges and Tunnels. This marked the first new financing credit for the MTA’s transit and commuter capital program since its 2002 restructuring and marked the first long-term issuance under the security.
FAR WEST REGION
The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency’s $760 million issuance of taxable and tax-exempt toll road refunding revenue bonds is the winner in the Far West. The combined tender, exchange, and taxable advance refunding transaction produced significant benefits for the issuer relative to conventional alternatives.
The $1.24 billion Miami-Dade County offering of seaport revenue refunding bonds for PortMiami is the winner in the Southeast. The financing is the largest port transaction to come to market in the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the high demand for the bonds highlighted investor confidence in the seaport sector.
HEALTH CARE FINANCING
The Health Care winner is the $300 million taxable bond issuance by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium to fund construction of a critical access replacement hospital. The issuer is a nonprofit, tax-exempt tribal health consortium and this was their first public bond issuance.
The Board of Education of the City of Newark, New Jersey, is the ESG/Green winner for its $93.9 million offering of sustainability bonds. The financing was effectively an inaugural issuance, as it marked the Board’s first issuance after transitioning back to local board control after operating under state control for 25 years.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP FINANCING
The New York State Thruway Authority Service Areas project is the P3 winner for its $269 million financing of tax-exempt private activity bonds. The project used a P3 structure to overcome adverse market conditions to successfully finance much-needed development along a major travel route.
SMALL ISSUER FINANCING
The Small Issuer honoree is the Buffalo Sewer Authority for its $49.2 million issuance of sewer system environmental impact revenue bonds, the authority’s first bond sale since 2003. Proceeds will implement green infrastructure projects to reduce the runoff of sewage, suspended solids, nitrogen, and phosphorus into the adjacent Niagara River and Lake Erie.
The South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority’s RecoverSC program is the honoree in the Innovative Financing category, highlighting the $10 million City of Columbia and $1.3 million County of Bamberg financings from the first round of program funding. The program helped South Carolina’s local governments bridge financial gaps resulting from lost revenues or delayed collections regardless of population size.