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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Toll Road Investors Partnership II's underlying rating to Ba1 from Ba2; stable outlook

25 Oct 2016

New York, October 25, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2 the underlying rating on Toll Road Investors Partnership II, LP's (TRIP II, "the project", or "the toll road") Dulles Greenway Project Revenue Bonds. The rating outlook is stable.

Rating Rationale

The upgrade to Ba1 from Ba2 reflects the (1) multi-year traffic and revenue (T&R) growth that has accelerated over the last two years with traffic approaching prior peak levels; (2) the favorable resolution of the State Supreme Court decision validating the TRIP II's right to raise tolls; and (3) the consistent annual implementation of toll rate increases that have generated strong revenue growth, increased reserve levels, and improved financial metrics that provide an adequate cushion against future traffic and revenue declines. This cushion is key to the rating given the toll road is likely to be adversely affected during future economic downturns given the significant 15% peak-to-trough traffic decline from 2007 to 2011 that has yet to fully recover to pre-recession levels.

The Ba1 underlying rating reflects the toll road's high leverage profile that is dependent on traffic and revenue growth to meet an escalating, yet flexible debt service repayment schedule; narrow annual total scheduled debt service coverage ratios; strong liquidity and bondholder financial covenants; limitations on raising toll rates that includes the annual approval by the Virginia SCC; historical opposition to toll rate increases; and the road's significant underperformance compared to the original traffic and revenue forecast.

Rating Outlook

The stable outlook reflects our view that the narrow total scheduled debt service coverage ratios will continue despite annual toll rate increases and expected traffic growth over the medium term. The current liquidity position is expected to strengthen further given excess cashflow will continue to be trapped as traffic and revenue performance improves and debt service costs decline in the next few years. This improvement may result in the toll road meeting its distribution tests, which would release any future trapped excess cashflow. As such the outlook includes an expectation that liquidity will remain strong at or near 2015 levels due to the indenture required reserves being fully funded, including an Early Redemption Reserve Fund sized at 50% of maximum annual debt service.

Factors that Could Lead to an Upgrade

• Continued T&R growth with higher scheduled debt service coverage ratios that exceed lock-up levels

• Annual toll rate increases continue to be implemented and approved without material user elasticity

• Increased certainty around long-term toll rate increases post 2020

Factors that Could Lead to a Downgrade

• Decline in T&R that weakens scheduled debt service coverage ratios

• Inability to implement adequate toll rate increases to grow revenues in step with fixed costs

• Additional leverage or unexpectedly high capital reinvestment requirements

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Privately Managed Toll Roads published in May 2014. 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 or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt 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.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

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John Medina
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Project Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

A.J. Sabatelle
Associate Managing Director
Project Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

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

No Related Data.
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