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MTA Receives Highest Fitch Credit Rating in MTA History, AA

Updated Mar 7, 2024 4:00 p.m.

Improved Credit Rating Highlights MTA’s Strategic Importance to the Region and Likelihood of Support from New York State

Rating Upgrade Comes Ahead of a $1.2 Billion MTA Transportation Revenue Bond Sale


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today received an upgraded rating from Fitch Ratings, which improved the MTA’s Transportation Revenue Bonds rating from A to AA with a rating outlook of Stable. AA is the highest rating the MTA has ever received from Fitch Ratings since the creation of the Transportation Revenue Bond credit in 2002. This is indicative of the MTA’s strong recovery and financial stability, surpassing the progress of the Authority’s financial state even before the pandemic.

Fitch took this rating action based on a review of the credit under its newly revised Government-Related Entities (GRE) Rating Criteria, which recognized that support from New York State would be extremely likely in case of need, citing consistent and meaningful financial support to the Authority during periods of stress, allowing the MTA to maintain a sufficiently strong financial profile. Fitch cites the economic importance of the MTA’s 24/7 network, including bridges and tunnels, to the New York region, and is the basis of the ‘stronger’ revenue defensibility assessment.

“Governor Hochul has consistently delivered for MTA riders and Wall Street has recognized that,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “This upgrade from Fitch reflects the continued growth of confidence in the MTA’s sustainable financial strength, bringing tangible benefits when we look to finance critical transit projects.”

“Fitch’s upgraded rating and stable outlook is a continued sign of confidence in the MTA’s improved financial stability and proven State support to maintain that strong position,” said MTA Chief Financial Officer Kevin Willens. “A healthy credit rating is more than just a score, it can attract investors and lower interest rates at which the bonds are issued, ultimately reducing the cost of financing transportation projects and resulting in actual savings.”

Evidence of New York State’s support includes the recent increase in the maximum rate of the Payroll Mobility Tax (PMT) projected to generate an additional $1.1 billion in recurring annual revenues for the operating budget and significant funding for the capital plan, including congestion pricing.

The MTA is expected to be in the market on March 18 and March 19 with $1.2 billion MTA Transportation Revenue Refunding Green Bonds, Series 2024A (Climate Bond Certified). Proceeds of the transaction will refund certain outstanding bonds for debt service savings. MTA’s Transportation Revenue Bonds credit is backed by a gross lien on a diverse basket of MTA operating revenues, including fares paid by MTA customers, surplus toll revenues as well as operating subsidies revenue streams and its ratings are often viewed as a barometer of the MTA’s overall financial health.

This sale marks Transportation Revenue Bond’s credit return to the market with a new fixed-rate bond offering after more than a three-year break. At that time, Fitch rated MTA A- with a Negative outlook. The MTA Transportation Revenue Bonds are now rated A3 with Positive outlook by Moody’s Investors Service; A- with a Positive outlook by Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings; AA with a Stable outlook by Fitch Ratings; and AA with a Stable outlook by Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Today’s announcement is an update to last fall’s announcement, when the rating was most recently improved, along with upgraded ratings and outlooks by Moody’s Investors Service and S&P’s Global Ratings. These improvements followed the MTA’s release of its five-year financial plan in July 2023, which projected a balanced budget through 2027, the first time in more than 20 years.