GAO Chides Local-Channel-Loan Program

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A $1.25 billion federal fund appropriated two years ago to encourage delivery of local channels via satellite to isolated rural communities was criticized in a new General Accounting Office report.

The Local Television Loan Guarantee Program has not issued any financing nor has it completed regulations and underwriting criteria necessary to issue the guarantees to private lenders that finance local TV delivery, GAO said in an Oct. 31 report.

In response, the Local Television Loan Guarantee Board noted that proposed rules were not drafted until last August and have yet to be finalized. Final rules are expected to be in place soon enough to begin accepting loan guarantee applications February 2004.

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