Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service today maintained the state Thruway Authority’s ‘A’ long-term rating, saying that it is confident the agency will raise tolls to pay off debt.
Still, a toll increase has appeared inevitable as the Thruway takes on debt to fund road repairs and fund a $3.9 billion new Tappan Zee Bridge. Thruway officials said the new bridge won’t be funded by Thruway toll hikes.
S & P and other credit agencies in recent years after downgraded the Thruway, saying it’s unclear how it will get the revenue to pay off its debts.
But S & P today gave the Thruway a stable outlook, saying the Thruway will make the needed financial moves to stay solvent.
“The ratings reflect our view of the credit profile on a mature statewide toll road system that will experience a significant increase in leverage and reliance on frequent rate increases to maintain margins,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Joseph Pezzimenti.
The credit agency added “because of its status as a large mature statewide system, we believe the Truway has a good competitive position. The NYSTA is a superhighway system crossing the state. The route from the New York City line to the Pennsylvania line is 496 miles long and includes a 426-mile mainline connecting the state’s two largest cities, New York City and Buffalo.”
And the “stable outlook reflects our expectation that the authority will make operational adjustments (to revenues or expenses) to offset its increasing debt service requirements from its significant additional debt.”