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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) earlier this week announced it has issued $337.3 million in bonds, marking the authority's first competitive bond sale in 21 years. The bonds will be used to refund prior debt obligations and reduce the agency's debt service. The sale represents the second step of the MBTA's three-part plan to lower debt service costs to create additional funds for capital improvement projects, agency officials said in a press release.The bond sales follow a vote by the MBTA's fiscal and management control board and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's board to enact a comprehensive debt strategy that includes terminating several legacy interest rate swap contracts, refinancing existing bonds and redeploying excess debt reserves into the capital maintenance "lockbox.""This comprehensive debt strategy will give the MBTA greater financial flexibility and strengthen its balance sheet, putting the [MBTA] on a more sustainable path and capitalizing on historically low interest rates," said Acting General Manager Shortsleeve.