Hopes Are High For New Facilities Authority
Atlanta — April 19, 2006
The Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority (GHEFA) – the new agency recently created by Senate Bill 562 – should be up and running in a matter of months after the Governor signs the legislation, the Board of Regents was told today.
The new authority, shaped to assist the University System of Georgia and the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) with financing some capital projects, will be instrumental in streamlining the USG’s facilities bonding process.
“This marks the first time the Board of Regents will have the ability to combine projects around the System into a single bond package,” Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. noted. “This will reduce costs to bring these projects forward.”
The GHEFA bill was adopted by the General Assembly on behalf of the Board of Regents during the just-concluded legislative session, Davis told board members during his monthly report to them.
“We are prepared to work closely with the Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority to facilitate the important work it will be doing on our behalf,” said Linda Daniels, vice chancellor for facilities, in commenting on the new legislation. “We hope to have the authority up and running as soon as possible so that its decisions can be taken into consideration as the Board of Regents submits its capital projects for Fiscal Year 2008 to the Governor and the General Assembly.”
Once the Governor signs the bill, it will take effect July 1, 2006. Perdue will name three appointees to GHEFA, Daniel noted. Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson will appoint another authority member from DTAE, and Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson will appoint a member of the Board of Regents as the authority’s fifth member. At the authority’s organizational meeting, members will elect a chair and vice chair and make decisions about staff, which may be assigned from within the University System and DTAE.
GHEFA will have a tremendous impact, helping the University System address its capital needs by assisting with financing for revenue-generating projects such as dormitories, recreation centers and parking decks. The authority will enable pooled financing of multiple small projects under a single bond issue, thus lowering transaction costs and fees.
By spreading financing costs and risk among multiple USG institutions, GHEFA may obtain better financing rates, according to William Bowes, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs. The new authority will have the power to make and execute contracts and leases. In addition, it will be able to extend credit or make loans to any person, firm, corporation, limited-liability company or other type of entity for the planning, design, construction and acquisition of projects, Bowes said.