For Immediate Release - May 07, 2012

Second Round of Accelerated Bridge Bonds Receive “Triple A” Rating

Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s Cite Massachusetts’ Strong Revenues

Treasurer Steven Grossman and Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez today announced that the second series of bonds to be issued to fund the Commonwealth’s Accelerated Bridge Program have been assigned an “AAA” rating by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.  The bonds, called Commonwealth Transportation Trust Fund (CTF) revenue bonds, are special obligations of the Commonwealth and are secured primarily by pledges of the state’s gas tax and RMV fees.

“This is another strong vote of confidence in the management of the state’s fiscal affairs,” said Treasurer Grossman.  “These ratings will not only permit us to free up the capital needed to improve and enhance our outdated bridge infrastructure, but they will also save millions of dollars for taxpayers as they translate into lower borrowing costs.”

“This affirmation of the first ‘AAA’ rating in the Commonwealth’s history on the Accelerated Bridge Program bonds means millions of dollars of savings for the Commonwealth and a greater capacity to invest in our future,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. “This is great news for the Commonwealth and its taxpayers.”

On Tuesday, May 8th, the Treasurer’s Office is expected to sell $419.26 million in CTF revenue bonds via competitive sale.  The “AAA” rating on the bonds is the highest possible designation from the two rating agencies, helping the state borrow at lower interest rates.  The first series of bonds issued for the Accelerated Bridge Program, issued in 2010, were also rated ‘AAA’ and were named the municipal market’s “Deal of the Year” by The Bond Buyer newspaper for the innovation that went into the development of the bond program.

The Accelerated Bridge Program was authorized in 2008 for the purpose of expediting the repair and reconstruction of hundreds of structurally deficient bridges across the state through fiscal year 2016.  According to MassDOT, more than 100 bridges have already been repaired through the program, which has been responsible for creating and sustaining more than 14,000 jobs in the state.

Bond proceeds from this latest borrowing are expected to be used primarily to fund the construction and repair of the five largest bridges in the program, including the Longfellow Bridge in Boston; the Route 79/I-195 interchange in Fall River; the Fore River Bridge in Quincy; the Burns Memorial Bridge in Shrewsbury; and the Whittier Bridge in Amesbury and Newburyport.