The Rating Outlook is Stable.
The 'A-' rating reflects the essentiality of the MDX system to commuters in the
KEY RATING DRIVERS
Stable Commuter Base With Strategic Importance - Volume Risk: Stronger
The MDX system has a mature traffic profile of over 237 million annual toll transactions and is a critical link to the
Moderate Price Flexibility - Price Risk: Midrange
MDX currently has moderate toll rates with solid economic rate-making ability. The system focuses on the future tolling of untolled traffic to provide additional revenue. MDX adopted a toll policy in which tolls will be indexed to the consumer price index (CPI) beginning in FY 2018. Nevertheless, there are inherent political risks associated with toll increases especially if economic conditions deteriorate.
Good Physical Condition of Assets -
MDX has maintained the system and its facilities in excellent condition. MDX's FY 2015-FY 2019 work program is moderate at
Some Exposure to Variable-Rate Debt - Debt Structure: Stronger (Revised from Midrange)
After the Series 2014B transaction, MDX's debt portfolio will be reduced to 8% in variable-rate mode with minimal interest rate risk exposure in a swap contract that matches the underlying debt in terms of notional balance and amortization. The overall debt service profile is moderately escalating and the debt service reserve is cash funded at maximum annual debt service (MADS).
Moderate Leverage and Healthy Financial Metrics
FY 2013 net debt to cash flow available for debt service (CFADS) was 8.7x and is consistent with peer facilities. Debt service coverage has historically been above 1.5x. FY 2013 debt service coverage increased to 1.56x from 1.37x in FY 2012 due to higher than anticipated net toll revenues and a substantial decline in operating and maintenance (O&M) costs attributable to a release of prior years' accrual of costs related to an on-going litigation with a vendor.
In comparison to peers in Fitch's portfolio, MDX functions closest to
Negative - Reduction in Financial Flexibility: Limited future financial flexibility upon completion of systemwide ORT, including previously untolled traffic movements or other factors that materially erode DSCR below 1.4x for three to five years, may lead to negative rating action.
Positive - Improved Operating Results: Management's ability to prudently contain O&M expense growth and pass-through costs (indirect expenses) associated with open road tolling (ORT) while proactively maintaining service levels and successful delivery of MDX's large-scale capital program, along with timely toll increases that enhance financial flexibility, resulting in debt service coverage ratios (DSCRs) above 1.60x, would reflect improved credit quality.
MDX is issuing approximately
The series 2005A-E variable rate bonds are privately placed with Dexia ('A', Negative Outlook) with three swaps of
The series 2006 revenue bonds will be refunded for net present value savings of
For more information, please see Fitch's press release 'Fitch Affirms Miami-Dade Expressway Auth, FL's Revs at 'A-''; dated
The bonds are secured by a pledge of and lien on the net revenues of the authority.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
--'Rating Criteria for Infrastructure and Project Finance' (
--'Rating Criteria for Toll Roads, Bridges, and Tunnels' (
Rating Criteria for Infrastructure and Project Finance
Rating Criteria for Toll Roads, Bridges and Tunnels
Source: Fitch Ratings
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