Fitch Ratings, a U.S. credit rating agency, announced on Sept. 30 that it has upgraded the Regional Transportation Authority’s outstanding excise tax revenue bonds of $128.8 million to AA+ from AA, and the rating outlook is stable.
The RTA, which is the fiscal manager of a 20-year regional transportation plan and half-cent tax approved by Pima County voters in 2006, sold bonds in 2011, 2014 and 2017 to accelerate early
construction and project delivery.
The bonds are secured with the half-cent tax revenues which are collected on taxable products and services including retail, contracting, utility, restaurant and bar, real and personal property, hotel and motel, and communications tax base components.
The upgrade to AA+ on the RTA’s transportation excise tax revenue bonds reflects Fitch’s expectations for strong growth in pledged revenues and robust resilience of the bond structure. Debt service coverage, even assuming issuance to the maximum leverage allowed under the indenture, provide ample cushion to absorb a cyclical downturn or one stemming from a significant economic disruption. No additional new debt is anticipated.
Fiscal year 2021 unaudited results indicate an operating surplus of about $43.9 million, raising the RTA’s fund balance to an estimated $150.7 million. Surplus funds are typically committed to the
delivery of capital projects. The adopted fiscal 2022 anticipated excise tax revenue collections are $94.4 million.
As of July 31, 2021, the RTA has completed 899 multimodal projects improving regional mobility and safety. Another 107 projects are either under development or in the construction/implementation phase.
The Regional Transportation Authority is the fiscal manager of the $2.1 billion plan approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006. The RTA Board is comprised of representatives from the local jurisdictions in Pima County, including the cities of Tucson and South Tucson, Pima County, the towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Tohono O’odham Nation. A representative of the Arizona State Transportation Board also serves on the board. For more information about the RTA plan, visit RTAmobility.com or call (520) 792-1093.