Standard & Poor's Corp. announced on Friday that it expects to rate an upcoming New York State Thruway Authority bond sale, which is currently the subject of a taxpayer lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed by taxpayer activist Robert L. Schulz, challenges the constitutionality, of the $200 million issue, which will finance the first leg of the state's multi-billion-dollar transportation highway program. The state will issue the bonds through the Thruway Authority in late September.

In a press release Standard & Poor's said it has "historically rated other New York State transactions that have also been challenged."

The rating agency added that it "has been able to rate such issues based on the receipt of legal opinions from issuer and bond counsels addressing the validity of the bonds."

Schulz says the bonding plan is illegal, failing to meet the state constitution's voter approval clause. The state maintains that the bond sale is legal based on precedent established during the past 20 years.

Early last week, executives from Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service said they were somewhat hesitant to rate the securities given the Schulz lawsuit, and that they needed more time to assess the lawsuit.

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