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Sound Transit Executes Issuance of Green Bonds

Sound Transit recently executed the sale of nearly $1 billion of green bonds that will help fund voter-approved regional public transit projects, including construction of more than 30 miles of light rail extensions on track for 2023.

The mid-August sale represents the world’s largest municipal sale of green bonds, agency officials said, a growing trend in the financial industry that facilitates investments in bonds that advance environmental sustainability.

“A growing number of investors want to see strong returns for both their portfolios and their planet,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “They need look no further than these green bonds, which will fund transportation projects that increase commuters’ mobility while reducing reliance on cars.”

Sound Transit’s issuance followed APTA’s announcement that the agency is one of only two public transit agencies in the U.S. to reach the platinum level in its Sustainability Commitment initiative. Sound Transit observes formal, independently monitored sustainability efforts across many areas of its daily operations, from designing energy-efficient buildings to reducing fleet emissions and increasing recycling and composting.

In addition, independent auditors annually evaluate the agency’s compliance with ISO 14001 environmental management system criteria.

“I’m proud of Sound Transit’s issuance of green bonds, which I believe will help grow this segment of the bond market while also reflecting our region’s environmental values and helping meet the agency’s financial obligations,” said Sound Transit Board and Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien, who advocated for the green bond strategy.

The bond sale will generate approximately $600 million in new proceeds to fund voter-approved transit expansions. It also will refinance $398 million of previously issued bonds with higher interest rates, generating present value saving of over $30 million.

Sound Transit is also developing a ballot measure for voters to consider in November 2016. Find details here.
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