Transportation Department gets top bond ratings

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The Delaware Department of Transportation has gained top debt ratings.

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the Delaware Transportation Authority’s bond rating from Aa2 to Aa1, and that Standard & Poor’s has affirmed its ‘AA+’ rating to the Authority’s senior revenue bonds series.

Moody’s has also upgraded to Aa3 from A1 the rating on the authority’s outstanding US 301 Project Revenue Bonds Series 2015 and upgraded to Aa3 from A2 the rating on the authority’s outstanding Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Series 2015 bond.

Despite widespread complaints about the 301 toll road and its $4 charge (less for frequent travelers) revenues have been above projections in the early going.

Moody’s has also assigned a Aa1 rating to the authority’s approximately $146 million Transportation System Senior Revenue Bonds Series 2019. The authority anticipates pricing the Series 2019 bonds the week of August 26

“We are very pleased with the rating services’ reports, and having a strong rating enables the Department to get the most out of every taxpayer dollar and continue to deliver on our biggest ever Capital Transportation Program to maintain and improve infrastructure across the state. A special thanks to the DelDOT finance team for their hard work in managing the Department’s financial portfolio and positioning the Department for this upgrade,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan.

Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s provide independent rating opinions on the creditworthiness of public agencies and private organizations. High ratings lead to investors buying bonds at lower interest rates.

The Delaware Transportation Authority (DTA) is the legal and financial authority under which the DelawareDepartment of Transportation issues its debt.

DelDOT’s current Capital Transportation Programis investingnearly $4 billion in projects across the stateover the next six years.

The spending and debt load without a gas tax in decades led to concerns that bonds might end up with lower debt ratings.

However, the state’s combination of high tolls and low gas and vehicle fees has passed muster with rating agencies.

The spending has led to orange barrels on many roads, as the department deals with aging infrastructure and congested routes.

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