Follow the Money - Local Politicians Campaign Contributors
Monday, July 2, 2007
NTTA Anticipated Credit Watch Decision by Rating Agencies
Plano, TX – On June 28, 2007, the Texas Transportation Commission selected the NTTA to develop and operate State Highway (SH) 121. NTTA expects to finance SH 121 through its Dallas North Tollway (DNT) System. The NTTA proposal for SH 121 committed an upfront payment to the State of $2.5 billion, $833 million marketable security or to be included in the upfront payment to the State, and estimated construction costs of approximately $700 million. Various interim financing tools are expected to be used for initial financing of the upfront payment and the construction costs. The take-out financing is planned to be accomplished through the issuance of long term debt under the NTTA's DNT System.
“We have a strong DNT System, a strong project, a strong team and a strong finance plan for the SH 121 toll project in Collin, Dallas and Denton counties in north Texas,” said Susan Buse, CFO, NTTA. “This is a great opportunity for the NTTA and a real plus for our customers and the citizens of north Texas. As we negotiate the project agreement with regional transportation leaders and the State, we will be finalizing our finance plan in full communication with the rating agencies, our bond insurers and the market.”
The DNT System’s long term debt is currently rated A1, A+ and A+ by Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, respectively. As previously acknowledged, ratings are expected to decline slightly for NTTA in connection with SH 121 financing and the lower ratings were reflected in the finance plan. This expectation is supported by the notifications from rating agencies that the NTTA's bonds have been placed on credit watch with negative indications.
“For the last two years, our Board of Directors has encouraged us to more efficiently leverage the System. The senior lien bond ratings are expected to remain in the “A” category from the rating agencies,” added Buse.
RBC Capital Markets is the NTTA's financial advisor, McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP is bond counsel and Bear Stearns & Co., Citigroup and Lehman Brothers are the senior managing underwriters for the SH 121 project financing.
The North Texas Tollway Authority, a political subdivision of the State of Texas, is authorized to acquire, construct, maintain, repair and operate turnpike projects in the North Texas region. The seven-member governing board is comprised of Chairman Paul N. Wageman, Vice Chairman Jack Miller, Directors Gary Base, David Denison, William W. Meadows, Bob Shepard and Alan Sims.
The NTTA serves Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant Counties and is responsible for the Dallas North Tollway System, consisting of the Dallas North Tollway, President George Bush Turnpike, Addison Airport Toll Tunnel, Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge and the Mountain Creek Lake Bridge. The North Texas Tollway Authority is able to raise capital for construction projects through the issuance of turnpike revenue bonds. NTTA toll projects are not a part of the State highway system and receive no direct tax funding. Tolls are collected to repay debt and to operate and maintain the roadways.
Visit the NTTA Web site at or call 214-461-2000 for additional information about the North Texas Tollway Authority. For Customer Service, please call 972-818-NTTA (6882).
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