LOS ANGELES -- J.P. Morgan & Co. has clinched the primary underwriting role in next spring's issuance of $1.25 billion of revenue bonds to finance toll road construction in Orange County, Calif., a toll road agency official said yesterday.

J.P Morgan will be named bookrunning senior manager for the $1 billion fixed-rate portion of the debt issue at a Nov. 10 meeting of the Santa Ana, Calif.-based Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, Walter D. Kreutzen, executive vice president of finance and construction for the agency, said yesterday.

Proceeds of the spring financing will pay for construction of the 23-mile-long Eastern Transportation Corridor and a two-mile extension of the Foothill Transportation Corridor.

The bookrunning senior manager assignment for the much-smaller variable-rate portion of the issue, estimated at $250 million, will be handled by CS First Boston Corp., Kreutzen said. The variable-rate bonds will be secured by a letter of credit provided by agent bank Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, with additional backing the Industrial Bank of Japan Ltd., and Credit Suisse.

PaineWebber Inc. will serve as co-senior manager for both the variable- and fixed-rate portions of the deal, Kreutzen said. PaineWebber served as bookrunning senior manager in 1993 on the corridor agency's $78.6 million bond financing for construction of a portion of the Foothill Transportation Corridor and environmental and planning costs for the Eastern Transportation Corridor.

"Finalizing the structure of the agency's financing team represents a major stepping stone," Kreutzen said. While "anything can happen," Kreutzen said he expects the corridor agency's board will formally approve the underwriting team Nov. 10.

"It is a pretty solid recommendation going in" to the meeting because the team's ranking was previously recommended by staff members and an ad hoc committee composed of five of the 14 board members, he added.

On Sept. 21, a $687 million contract to construct the Foothill/Eastern project was awarded to Silverado Constructors, a joint venture group. The current schedule calls for construction to begin in early 1996 and be finished by late 1999.

The San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency and the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency are separate legal entities known as joint powers authorities. The same staff supports both agencies, which are governed by representatives of 11 cities in Orange County and county officials.

The San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency sold $1.1 billion of revenue bonds in March 1993 for the 15-mile San Joaquin Hills toll road, now under construction.

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