TriMet retains Kroll Bond Rating Agency’s AAA rating for fifth straight year


TriMet has retained our national reputation as a creditworthy and responsible steward of financial resources. Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), one of the nation’s leading credit-rating firms, has reaffirmed our AAA bond status for the fifth straight year. 

AAA is the highest possible rating from Kroll. The agency describes the esteemed position as “assigned only to the very highest quality” candidates, “able to survive extremely challenging economic events.” It has granted the top-tier rating to TriMet every year since 2018.

In its reaffirmation, KBRA recognized TriMet for “a diverse and growing economic base [and] a highly reliable revenue source, which demonstrated resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The rating is largely based on the strength and stability of Oregon’s employer payroll tax, which is our highest revenue source.

Achievement of the AAA rating helps generate interest in our bonds, which lets us command a better price. TriMet is allowed to spend proceeds from bond sales for items like bus purchases and major construction efforts such as the Division Transit Project.

We issued more than $400 million in bonds on Oct. 5, 2021, of which $229 million was refunding bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates and $181 million was new money. The funds will be used for our A Better Red MAX extension and improvements project, our Powell Operating Facility renovation and the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

History of excellence

In 2015, TriMet became the first special tax-backed transit agency to achieve an Aaa rating from Moody’s Corporation. Then, in 2017, we became the only special tax-backed transit agency to achieve the triple A rating from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, reflecting the creditworthiness of government bonds. In May 2018, TriMet received accolades from a third rating agency, Kroll, and became the first transit agency in the nation to have a special tax-backed bond rated triple A by the three top rating agencies at the time: Moody’s (Aaa); Standard & Poor’s Global (AAA); and KBRA Kroll Bond Rating Agency (AAA).

Budget accolades

In addition, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awarded our Budget & Grants department a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the third year in a row. The GFOA conducts a rigorous budget review process to ensure that organizations are not only spending their money wisely, they’re effectively telling their story to stakeholders.

About TriMet

TriMet provides bus, light rail and commuter rail transit services in the Portland, Oregon metro area. We connect people with their community, while easing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution — making our community a better place to live.