San Diego County CA— Two national bond rating agencies – Standard & Poor’s and Fitch – have assigned AAA ratings to $350 million in tax revenue bonds that SANDAG plans to sell this summer to raise money for high-priority regional transportation improvements. S&P issued its rating on July 22. Fitch issued its rating on July 15.
AAA ratings are the highest ratings possible, and they signify to investors that the agency has a strong capacity to manage its finances and meet financial obligations.
“By achieving these exceptional credit ratings, SANDAG will be able to sell its bonds at a very favorable interest rate and save taxpayers money,” SANDAG Board of Directors Chair and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Ron Roberts said.
On Friday, the SANDAG Board of Directors, acting as the San Diego County Regional Transportation Commission, authorized the issuance of up to $350 million in 2016 Series A bonds and up to $100 million of refunding for certain outstanding bonds. SANDAG plans to sell the bonds as traditional tax-exempt, fixed-rate bonds in order to take advantage of historically low, long-term fixed rates in the current market. The bonds will be structured to mature in 2048.
The bonds will be secured by revenues from TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation approved by San Diego County voters. The money raised by the bonds will help fund a variety of important transit, highway, and local street projects over the next few years, including improvements to I-5 in the North Coast Corridor, construction of the Voigt Drive and Gilman Drive bridges, double tracking the coastal rail corridor to increase service capacity for both passengers and freight, completion of the South Bay Rapid transit line (set to begin service in 2018), and enhancements to I-805 and SR 76.