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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns underlying Aa3 to Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority, NY's General Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2019B (Federally Taxable)

12 Sep 2019

New York, September 12, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Aa3 underlying rating to the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, NY's (TBTA or MTA Bridges and Tunnels) approximately $102.2 million General Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2019B (Federally Taxable). The 2019B bonds will be used to pay the purchase price of the outstanding Series 2001B General Revenue Variable Rate Bonds. Moody's maintains a Aa3 rating on the TBTA's outstanding general revenue bonds totaling approximately $7.77 billion and an A1 rating on the subordinate lien general revenue bonds totaling $1.02 billion. The outlook on the long-term ratings is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The TBTA's Aa3 senior and A1 subordinate lien ratings are based on the essentially of its facilities to the NYC metropolitan region and strength of its financial metrics, which are among the strongest of all toll road facilities. These strengths are tempered by the organizational structure that transfers excess revenues to support the MTA transit and commuter operations and reduces liquidity directly available to bondholders.

The expected additional debt from the TBTA's capital program could result in lower than previously forecasted debt service coverage ratios (DSCRs); however, the TBTA has historically managed its capital needs with reasonable and timely toll rate increases. We do not expect growing deficits at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA Transportation Revenue Bonds rated A1) to significantly impact toll rates or leverage at the TBTA.

RATING OUTLOOK

The stable outlook incorporates our expectation of continued steady regional economic growth, low traffic elasticity in response to toll rate increases and the implementation of another rate increase in 2019 to sustain strong DSCRs. The ratings reflect solid credit fundamentals and assume that the TBTA will continue to grow net revenues, prudently fund asset maintenance and support senior lien revenue DSCRs at or above the 1.75x board adopted target and total DSCRs at or above 1.50x.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE

- Sustained higher than historic growth in traffic and revenues that signals a shift in the utilization of the TBTA's assets

- Clarity on future long-term capital requirements for both the TBTA and MTA that allows overall debt metrics and DSCRs to improve over the long-term

- Dedication of additional financial liquidity to support TBTA bondholders

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE

- Significant declines in traffic and revenue or demonstrated higher elasticity from toll rate increases

- Greater than currently expected borrowing for capital projects or increased reliance on TBTA surplus transfers by the MTA that pressures toll rates higher

- Senior DSCRs persistently below 1.75x and total coverage levels below 1.50x as well as debt to operating revenue ratio in excess of 6 times

LEGAL SECURITY

Senior lien general revenue bonds are secured by a first lien on net revenues of bridges and tunnels; subordinate lien bonds are secured by a second lien on net revenues. The bonds do not benefit from a debt service reserve fund. There is a rate covenant that requires net revenues to be maintained at 1.25x annual debt service for senior lien debt and a strong additional bonds test that requires net revenues to be 1.40x the maximum annual debt service on outstanding and planned bonds if the bonds are issued for something other than to keep the facilities in good operating condition.

USE OF PROCEEDS

Proceeds from the Series 2019B Bonds will be used to refund the outstanding Series 2001B General Revenue Variable Rate Bonds, pay financing and legal fees and pay the underwriters' discount.

PROFILE

The TBTA, or MTA Bridges and Tunnels, is a public benefit corporation (a corporate entity separate and apart from the state) without any power of taxation. TBTA is empowered to construct and operate toll bridges and tunnels and other public facilities in New York City. The TBTA's facilities include: Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge), Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Henry Hudson Bridge, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (formerly the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel), and the Queens Midtown Tunnel. The TBTA receives its revenues from all tolls, rates, fees, charges, rents, proceeds of use and occupancy insurance on any portion of its tunnels, bridges and other facilities, including the net revenues of the Battery Parking Garage, and bridges and tunnels' receipts from those sources. The TBTA issues debt obligations to finance the capital costs of its facilities and is empowered to issue debt obligations to finance the capital costs of the transit and commuter systems operated by other affiliates and subsidiaries of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or MTA, though that has not been done since 2008. TBTA's surplus amounts are used to fund transit and commuter operations and finance capital projects.

METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in this rating was Publicly Managed Toll Roads and Parking Facilities published in March 2019. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Kurt Krummenacker
Lead Analyst
Project Finance
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York 10007
US
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Michael Mulvaney
Additional Contact
Project Finance
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

No Related Data.
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