The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority announced yesterday that it has chosen a new team of investment bankers and financial advisers to handle the bonding for an accelerated reconstruction and improvements program, according to an authority spokeswoman.

Bear, Stearns & Co. will serve as senior manager, spokeswoman Linda Dailey said. The authority had used a number of senior managers to handle past deals.

New York-based Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon will be chief bond counsel for the new team and Palmer & Dodge will represent the authority's legal issues, Dailey said.

The investment banking group will include woman-owned Artemis Capital Group Inc. and minority-owned W.R. Lazard, Laidlaw & Mead Inc. Another minority firm, the Boston law firm of McKenzie & Edwards, will serve as co-bond counsel.

Other managers in the syndicate are Dillon, Read & Co.; Kidder, Peabody & Co.; PaineWebber Inc.; and First Boston Corp.

"This is an extremely capable and strong finance team which demonstrate a genuine confidence in MassPike and its reconstruction and improvement program," Allan R. McKinnon, the chairman of the Turnpike Authority, said in a release.

Dailey said the firms were chosen "because of their widely varied experiences, skills, creatively, and diversity."

She said the ability to bring in a diverse pool of investors was also an important consideration.

The accelerated program is set to begin next year.

"The turnpike plans on repaving and upgrading 73 of its 135 miles of roadway, upgrading 110 out of 260 bridges, and correcting 39 potentially hazardous rock ledges," Dailey said.

"The team hopes to sell $100 million in bonds [annually] for the next five years, or twice the amount sold in 1992," she added.

The accelerated upgrades to the turnpike will, according to the authority, create 6,000 jobs in the state in and out of construction.

"This will not only be good news for MassPike, but it will be good for the construction industry and good news for turnpike patrons," McKinnon said.

Dailey said the trustee bank and the date of the next bond sale have not yet been decided.

"I am delighted that MassPike has made a special effort to open up this opportunity to woman- and minority-owned firms," McKinnon said. "This effort is part of the authority's ongoing commitment to program's which increase participation of women and minorities in all aspects of its operations."

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