Frozen state funds begin to thaw |

Frozen state funds begin to thaw

Staff and wire reports

Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” A state board has agreed to ease the freeze on funding for infrastructure projects.

The Pooled Money Investment Board voted 3-0 Wednesday to authorize $500 million in support for a variety of projects in California. The Department of Finance will decide how to distribute the money.

The decision is contingent on the treasurer’s office being able to sell about $4 billion in state bonds next week.

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s matching funds will remain frozen for now, said LTUSD spokeswoman Angie Keil. The unfrozen projects are for health and safety, she said.

About $15.4 million in matching funds is still owed to the district for the Green Academy, portable replacement building, and Arts and Media Center.

Because the state will begin to sell $4 billion in bonds soon, Keil said it’s a good sign that the state could give the district its matching funds by summer.

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Even if the matching funds aren’t received by the summer, Keil said the district still can complete those buildings, and continue with projects for the next couple years.

The LTUSD board approved the sale of no more than $31 million worth of bonds at the last LTUSD board meeting Jan. 27 in order to keep moving forward with construction projects without the matching funds. The district will receive the about $30 million for its construction projects on March 25.

The district plans to break ground in May on its first two construction projects, the Green Academy and the portable replacement building.

The PMI board imposed a freeze on infrastructure loans in December because of California’s budget problems. The freeze affects about 5,300 projects, ranging from classrooms to carpool lanes, that have a total value of about $18 billion.

” Tribune staff writer Sara Thompson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.