The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) issued $50 million in bonds to buy back previously issued securities.
The serial bonds mature between 2029 and 2039. The securities received a rating of AA from Fitch Ratings, Aa2 from Moody’s Investors Service, and AA+ from S&P Global Ratings.
The rating “reflects the authority’s superior gap closing capacity, strong economic base, adequate expenditure flexibility and strong revenue growth prospects,” Fitch analysts wrote. They added that the stable outlook indicates “a substantial easing of Covid-19 pandemic-related credit pressure, including continuing improvement in ridership trends, a wider operating margin and strong liquidity.”
The issuance comes as the UTA, like public transit agencies across the country, returns to a new normal of post-pandemic ridership. While ridership increased by more than 30% last year, it remained at approximately 71% of prepandemic levels, according to the official statement accompanying the sale of the bonds.
The UTA has dealt with staffing woes of late, leading the authority to cut some service. Last week, it announced that it would scale back ski bus services, which connect Salt Lake City to the mountains that surround it.
The UTA is the primary public transit agency in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. It had an annual ridership of 31 million last year. The bonds are special limited obligations of the authority, payable by a pledge of some sales tax revenue.
Wells Fargo Bank, NA, served as lead underwriter on the issuance.