TriMet’s payroll-tax bond rating remains the highest of any similar transit agency

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Today’s bond sale will fund buses, construction of new Transit Police facility, and other improvements

Leading credit-rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has reaffirmed TriMet’s Aaa – “Triple A” – rating for its $97.4 million Senior Lien Payroll Tax Revenue Bonds, Series 2017A . TriMet is the only tax-backed transit agency to achieve a Aaa rating from Moody’s and a AAA rating from S & P Global Ratings, which reflects the credit worthiness of government bonds.

Both rating agencies issued their opinions in late January in advance of TriMet bonds being priced on Tues., Feb. 7, 2017. The bond proceeds will finance $110 million in transit-related capital projects from fiscal years 2017 through 2019, including:

  • Purchasing 121 buses as part of the agency’s ongoing bus replacement program
  • Construction of a new Transit Police Division facility at the upcoming Convention Center Hotel
  • Relocation of the Powell LIFT paratransit facility
  • A new operations facility and a building renovation both located in Gresham
  • Funding a portion of Hop FastpassTM 

Moody’s maintained TriMet’s Aaa status due to the region’s robust economic growth and “TriMet’s strong management of operations and capital projects.”

“To maintain this high rating clearly demonstrates that we are an efficient and financially stable agency for the long-term,” said Neil McFarlane, TriMet General Manager.

Moody’s also noted TriMet’s strong management as a factor in the rating – evident in the delivery of the MAX Orange Line project on time and about $48 million under budget, and that TriMet’s Board continues to follow best practices by adopting a Strategic Financial Plan that requires:

  • unrestricted reserve funds to no less than 2.5 times monthly operating expenditures,
  • budgeted contingency set no lower than 3 percent of total operating requirements, and
  • TriMet’s senior lien payroll tax bonds, lease payments and credit bonds to remain below 6 percent of TriMet’s continuing revenues.

Read Moody’s Investors Service Credit Opinion and news release, and S&P Global Credit Rating Report.