Orange County Branch Newsletter
Citing the 73 Toll Road as a “Congestion Reliever,” S&P Global Ratings Upgrades San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency Senior-Lien Bonds to A-
By Sarah Swensson King
IRVINE, CA (Aug. 13, 2018) – In a continuing trend that underscores the strength of the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ financial picture, S&P Global Ratings announced they have raised its rating of the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency’s (SJHTCA) senior-lien toll road refunding revenue bonds and junior-lien toll refunding revenue bonds to A- and BBB+, respectively, with a stable outlook.
The upgrade by S&P follows recent rating upgrades for the San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies’ bonds by Moody’s Investor Services and Fitch Ratings in July 2017.
S&P reported the Agencies’ Board of Directors and management staff as reasons for the strong enterprise risk profile noting very strong management and governance, evidenced through an experienced management team with good board oversight.
“S&P Global Rating’s upgrade of the 73 Toll Road’s senior-lien bonds to A- is an exciting and strong indicator that The Toll Roads of Orange County are financially healthy and prepared to provide a valuable transportation option for drivers into the future,” said Fred Minagar Chair of the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency and Laguna Niguel Councilmember.
“I am proud of the steadiness the Board of Directors and management staff have shown. It is because of the visionary leadership of past Boards that we can celebrate another financial achievement today,” Minagar said.
“The road’s market position is strong, in our opinion,” the S&P report states. “It operates in an area with a population that is road-network reliant; thus its role as a congestion reliever with surrounding free alternatives that are among the most heavily-trafficked and congested in the country, leads us to believe that [it is] becoming a virtual requirement for drivers who depend on time savings.”
The San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies are two joint powers authorities created to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s 51-mile toll road network – the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. The Toll Roads have been providing a choice for drivers for more than 20 years and the tolls collected are used to fund debt service issued to construct the system, operations and capital projects. Currently, more than 330,000 daily transactions are recorded on the 51-mile toll road system that represents 20 percent of Orange County’s highways and is the largest toll road network in California.