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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez

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Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) Becomes Independent

TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Tampa Bay has a newly independent financing tool to help road construction in the Tampa Bay community move faster and become more responsive to the needs of local drivers.

Through the sale of more than $455 million in bonds Thursday, THEA has attained financial independence from the State of Florida.  This action enabled THEA and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to terminate their lease-purchase agreement and confirm THEA's absolute ownership of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and other assets.

"The Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority is hitting the fast lane thanks to this historic action," said Stephen Diaco, Chairman of the Expressway Authority Board of Directors.  "Every cent collected by THEA remains in our community; that means more transportation investments and solutions for our customers."

Additional local road construction projects will receive new funding thanks to Thursday's bond sale, including part of the I-4 Connector, which will provide a tolled link between I-4 and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.   Proceeds from the THEA bond sale will refinance all outstanding Series 2002 and 2005 bonds that were issued by the state on behalf of the Expressway Authority, repay a $49.2 million loan made by the FDOT from the State Infrastructure Bank, and repay a $7.4 million loan from the state Toll Facilities Revolving Trust Fund.  This will free up over $33 million for new work by the Department.

Ahead of the bond sale, THEA received credit ratings of "A3" by Moody's Investors Service and "A-" by Standard & Poor's.  Both agencies assigned 'positive' outlooks to the Expressway Authority's debt.

About Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority:

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is a user-financed public agency led by a Board of local citizens. Operating with no tax dollars, THEA owns and maintains the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, as well as two non-tolled roads, Brandon Parkway and Meridian Avenue. All tolls collected by THEA are reinvested into projects in Hillsborough County. For more information, visit www.tampa-xway.com.

SOURCE Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority

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