Press Releases

Fitch affirms ‘AA-’ rating to the JTA's local option gas tax revenue bonds

JACKSONVILLE, FL.  – Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'AA-' Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and affirmed the 'AA-' rating on approximately $85 million in senior lien Local Option Gas Tax (LOGT) revenue bonds, series 2015.

Through a release issued Aug. 14, Fitch stated the JTA’s rating outlook was “stable”.

“The 'AA-' IDR reflects the Authority's strong operating performance, low long-term liability burden, and solid expenditure control balanced against the Authority's limited independent legal ability to raise revenues and slow revenue growth prospects,” the agency stated.

Fitch states that the JTA is “well positioned” to withstand the current COVID-19 pandemic due to strong reserves, ample expenditure flexibility, a resilient economic resource base, and significant federal support for U.S. public transit agencies.

The announcement by Fitch follows one issued by S&P Global Ratings on July 17, 2020, affirming its 'AA' long-term rating on the JTA’s 2015 senior lien LOGT revenue bonds.

S&P cited strong overall economic fundamentals, a pledged revenue source with historically low relative volatility and strong maximum annual debt service (MADS) coverage and strong bond provisions with a 1.75X additional bonds tests (ABT), in their ratings.

“These actions by Fitch and S&P reflect the strong financial stewardship of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority,” said JTA Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes.  “Despite ongoing revenue pressure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the JTA continues to effectively manage our resources to benefit the citizens of Jacksonville.”

The bonds were issued against the JTA’s portion of the Local Option Gas Tax (LOGT), which includes five of the six cents collected on every gallon of motor and diesel fuel sold in Duval County. The Jacksonville City Council and the JTA approved the extension of the LOGT in 2014 through 2036 to fund a series of construction and capital programs under the JTAMobilityWorks banner, starting in 2016.