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Moody’s affirms Sound Transit’s financial management with highest-possible bond ratings

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December 15, 2023


Moody’s Investor Service has affirmed its “Aaa” ratings for Sound Transit’s first lien “Prior Bonds,”— the highest possible for tax-backed bonds—as well as its “Aa1” rating on second lien “Parity Bonds.” The bond ratings affect approximately $1.9 billion in debt.

“The affirmation of these bond ratings is a vote of confidence in the strong financial stability of Sound Transit,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “These ratings save taxpayers money and underscore why good stewardship of public funds is our guiding principle.”

“These bond ratings are a particularly encouraging endorsement of Sound Transit’s ongoing fiscal strategies given the financial challenges currently faced by transit agencies across the country,” said Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm. “The agency is demonstrating that it has the structure and policies in place to weather the headwinds that transit as a whole faces in this country.”

Moody’s based the ratings on Sound Transit’s robust debt service coverage by pledged revenues as well as the size and strength of the service area's economy from which the pledged revenue is generated. The ratings also incorporate the overall growth trend of pledged revenues with manageable historical volatility, the bonding programs' adequate legal provisions, and the authority's very large capital expansion plan that could entail significant additional borrowings over the longer-term. The ratings also consider demonstrated voter support for Sound Transit's transportation programs and the agency’s strong management.

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