The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, a division of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), issued $1.13 billion in bonds to refund a previous issuance.
The bonds mature between 2029 and 2043, yielding between 3.56% and 4.49%. Fitch Ratings, S&P Global Ratings, and Kroll Bond Rating Agency all rated the bonds AA+.
“However, our view of the MTA, as a component unit of the state, with limited expenditure flexibility, expansive capital needs, and a governance structure susceptible to political interference, leads us to consider the rating on the bonds as limited to no higher than that of the state’s general creditworthiness,” S&P analyst Ladunni Okolo said in a press release.
The issuance comes during a rare period of fiscal solvency for the MTA. The authority has balanced its budget for the next five years, according to a recently released report by the New York Comptroller’s Office. A mixture of federal and state aid has brought short-term stability, but the MTA still owes more than $48 billion in outstanding debt, and a significant portion of its network is in need of repair.
Last week, the MTA released a 20-year needs assessment plan, which evaluated the $1.5 trillion in transit infrastructure managed by the authority. Most of the plan focuses on public transit, though it includes some bridge and tunnel improvements, such as dehumidifying cables on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to extend its useful life. The plan also calls for making MTA bridges more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.
“Today, a series of existential forces are converging—including aging infrastructure in need of ongoing repair—making this a pivotal moment for the MTA and the future of New York,” the MTA wrote in a report released last week.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels manages seven bridges and two tunnels connecting New York’s boroughs. The bonds are special obligations of MTA Bridges and Tunnels, payable by mobility taxes.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as lead underwriter on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for more than $1.2 billion. The price reflected a premium of $84 million.