NEW YORK, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bond Buyer, a Thomson Media publication, today named five regional winners of its 2003 Deal of the Year Awards whose offerings financed airports, housing, highways, pension obligations, and power purchases. The winner of the national title "Deal of the Year" will be announced at a black-tie awards dinner in New York City on December 9. The Bond Buyer's annual Deal of the Year Award honors the municipal bond industry deals that represent innovation and distinctiveness and can serve as a model for future financings across the country. The awards are presented to one issuer in each of the five geographic regions covered by the newspaper for transactions that came to market between October 1, 2002, and September 30, 2003. The five regional winners were chosen by The Bond Buyer bureau chiefs and editors from the pool of 51 nominations of 40 different transactions. "The deals that we have selected to compete for the Deal of the Year award recognize accomplishments in virtually all sectors of public finance," said Amy B. Resnick, The Bond Buyer's editor-in-chief. "It is important to add that several of this year's winners, and an even greater number of nominees, were sold to help governments manage fiscal stress, reflecting the tight budget situations faced by municipalities across the nation." The regional winners are: Northeast: The New Jersey Turnpike Authority for its $2.4 billion consolidation program. Southwest: Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport for its $1.4 billion joint revenue bond financing. Midwest: Illinois for its $10 billion pension bond issue. Southeast: The Alabama Public Housing Authorities Financing Corp. for its $125 million Series 2003 A & B pooled federal housing grant securitization. Far West: The California Department of Water Resources for its $11.26 billion power supply revenue bond program. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority bonds were sold to consolidate the New Jersey Highway Authority, which operated the Garden State Parkway with the New Jersey Turnpike and addressed troubles that affected the financing of the state's EZ-Pass toll system while also meeting certain capital funding needs. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport deal was the largest single- day airport transaction in the country, completed as DFW's largest carrier, American Airlines, contemplated filing for bankruptcy court protection. Illinois sold taxable pension obligation bonds that helped the state fund its unfunded obligation to employees' retirement, while the size of the transaction enabled the debt to become a new option for investors in the taxable fixed-income market. The Alabama Public Housing Authorities Financing Corp. was created for this transaction, which enabled 37 local housing authorities in the state to securitize future grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was similar to the single-entity housing grant securitization completed in 2002 by the Chicago Housing Authority, which won The Bond Buyer's 2002 Deal of the Year Award. The California Department of Water Resources sold the largest issue ever in the municipal bond market. Apart from the size of the transaction, the multi-part structure of fixed- and variable rate debt utilized a significant level of municipal derivatives and credit enhancement from bond insurers, banks, and a state pension fund. The deal included both tax-exempt and taxable securities. It funded the state's purchase of power when electricity producers refused to sell directly to the state's three major investor-owned utilities. Five other issuers, one from each region of the country, also received honorable mention for deals that financed schools, transportation, health care, open space preservation, and government operations. They are: Northeast: The Erie County Industrial Development Authority for $183.3 million of school facility revenue bonds (City School District of the City of Buffalo Project) in Series 2003. Southwest: The Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority deals issued on behalf of the Nature Conservancy. Midwest: $1.54 billion in bonds issued on behalf of the Ascension Health Credit Group through four issuers in states and one county authority that utilized multi-state issuance programs of two of the state authorities to consolidate debt for facilities in seven additional states. Southeast: The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority for its $1.07 billion Series 2003A through D Revenue Bonds. Far West: California for its $10.965 billion in revenue anticipation warrants ($5.392 billion Series A and $5.573 billion Series B). About The Bond Buyer & Thomson Media The Bond Buyer, www.bondbuyer.com, is the only daily newspaper committed entirely to the municipal finance marketplace. With reporters based across the country, no other publication can compete with its explanations and analyses of the market. With it new-issue calendar, in-depth statistical data not available in any other publication and concise reporting, The Bond Buyer is in a league of its own. The Bond Buyer is published by Thomson Media (www.thomsonmedia.com), a division of The Thomson Corporation, and a leading provider of information, data, and software tools for professionals in the financial services and related technologies markets. 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SOURCE The Bond Buyer, Thomson Media