Ratings agency cites DRPA’s solid metrics in recent fiscal years and management’s tight control over costs
Camden, NJ - Today, Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) officials announced that the independent credit agency, Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) has upgraded the ratings on the bi-state agency’s outstanding Revenue Bonds to A1 from A2 and the rating on its outstanding Port District Project (PDP) bonds to Baa1 from Baa2. Moody’s previously upgraded these bonds in 2017.
Moody’s cites “solid metrics in fiscal year 2018 and expected for 2019” and projects that “management will continue to maintain a tight control over costs” as reasons for the ratings upgrade rationale. The ratings report also reflects Moody’s view of the following DRPA strengths:
- Very strong liquidity with a decline slightly with cash on hand in the next few years due in part to fund a $810 million 5-year capital plan for 2020-2024;
- No toll increases through at least 2023. Tolls were last increased in 2011;
- Changes in debt structure including the elimination of swaps and variable rate debt;
- No debt issuances planned in the next 24 months; and
- Investment in enterprise resource planning and other technology.
“With this ratings upgrade, the financial community is recognizing the unprecedented levels of investment DRPA is making in our bridges and PATCO line, and also in our people through training and technology,” said John T. Hanson, DRPA CEO and President, PATCO. “We are able to continue to do all this while making a commitment to freezing tolls until at least 2023.”
“The upgrades by Moody’s, reinforces the fact that the DRPA has achieved and sustained a superior level of financial performance for almost a decade,” said James M. White, DRPA Chief Financial Officer. “This rating action also reflects a high level of operational excellence at the DRPA’s bridges, on the train line, and among administrative support staff.”
These latest upgrades join several other upgrades over the past several years by both Moody’s and S&P Global Ratings (S&P), in recognition of DRPA’s continued financial stability and financial performance. DRPA’s excellent financial state and annual cash flows support the funding of the Authority’s $810 million in capital projects necessary to maintain, improve and upgrade four bridges and the PATCO transit line. Major projects include: Ben Franklin Bridge Suspension Span & Anchorage Rehabilitation ($217M); Whitman Bridge Corridor Rehabilitation at I-76 ($74M); PATCO Franklin Square Station Reopening ($29M); bridge painting ($161M); and elevator installations at PATCO stations ($38M).
To view the Moody’s Investors Service press release, click here.