The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today it has
received strong single "A" ratings on MTA Transportation Revenue Bonds
from the three rating agencies. The ratings were requested by the MTA
in advance of the first 2005 bond sale of approximately $500 million in
fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds. Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings
each issued an "A" rating, and Moody's Investors Service issued its "A2"
rating. The ratings apply to the new issuance of bonds and are affirmed
on the existing $7.3 billion of outstanding Transportation Revenue debt.
"We are pleased to carry this strong rating endorsement into the municipal
credit markets for our borrowing this week," said Chairman Peter S. Kalikow.
"MTA began issuing bonds in 1982 to bring this system back from the brink
- in doing this, we have met our obligation to improve the transportation
system while maintaining an exceptional track record in the management
of our debt portfolio."
Standard & Poor's cited "MTA's strong management track record of
maintaining fiscally prudent operation while continuing to invest and
upgrade the transit and commuter system" as a credit strength. Fitch Ratings
noted that their "A" rating was linked to the "essentiality of the MTA
network to the regional economy, as well as its track record of prudent
management of authority finances and operations." Moody's Investors Service
stated that its "A2" rating ...reflects a diversified revenue base for
the bonds and the positive financial and operating trends of the authority
in recent years."
MTA is issuing $500 million of municipal tax-exempt bonds through its
underwriting syndicate led by book-running senior manager Merrill Lynch
& Co. JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are serving as co-senior managers
on the deal. The entire MTA underwriting group includes 8 rotating senior
managers, 12 co-managers, and a selling group of 25 firms.
Proceeds from the sale of the Transportation Revenue 2005 Series A Bonds
will be used for Transit and Commuter capital projects in MTA's 2000-2004
Capital Program. MTA's Capital Program provides critical investment in
the New York regional transportation network that includes the New York
City Transit Authority, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Railroad,
and MTA Capital Construction. Capital improvements to MTA Bridge &
Tunnel facilities are funded through Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority