MARTA: Bond Rating Upgrade Reflects Improved Financial Performance

MARTA’s Third Indenture bond rating has been upgraded to Aa2 from Aa3, Moody’s Investors Service recently announced.

The upgrade reflects the agency’s overall improved financial performance and stability. A rating increase signals to the bond market that MARTA is managing its finances in a sound, responsible manner, the transit agency said.

In fiscal year 2015, MARTA Authority’s sales tax receipts increased 7.7 percent to $372.4 million. In addition, ridership increased 5.3 percent, while other transit agencies saw their ridership decline in recent months due to lower gas prices.

“With ongoing input from the Board of Directors, the Authority continues to demonstrate that we are good stewards of the public’s trust and financial support,” MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker, said in a news release. “This vote of confidence from Moody’s is another indicator that we are getting our financial house in order and moving in the right direction for providing a world-class transit experience for our customers.”

MARTA said it reduced its variable rate and portfolio exposure from 56 percent of its total outstanding debt to less than 10 percent, and the agency’s cash reserves have been restored to adequate levels.

Bond rating agencies assign a rating that is used by bond investors as a risk indicator. These independent third parties review the financial condition of the bond issuers and their ability to repay their obligations. The bond rating agency will assign a rating so the bond market can adequately measure risk and price the bonds accordingly.