FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2022
MARTA EARNS UPGRADED ‘AA’ CREDIT RATING
ATLANTA - The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid
Transit Authority (MARTA) has received an upgrade in its bond credit rating
given by Fitch Ratings after demonstrating a sustained maintenance of liquidity
and financial resilience. Fitch upgraded MARTA’s Issuer Default Rating (IDR)
and outstanding sales tax revenue bonds to ‘AA,’ signifying the Authority is
unlikely to default on its debt repayments.
“As MARTA fortifies its workforce and
builds post-pandemic ridership, sales tax revenue remains our dominant revenue
source. This excellent rating from Fitch reflects MARTA’s low long-term
liability burden and prospects for continued long-term sales tax revenue
growth,” said MARTA Interim General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood.
“Strong sales tax performance, combined
with federal aid have enabled MARTA to manage well through the pandemic induced
downturn, providing the Authority with ample time to gradually implement
planned budget adjustments to cover future potential funding gaps,” added MARTA
Chief Financial Officer Raj Srinath.
Fitch based its rating upgrade on MARTA's
broad and resilient economic resource base and growing service area population,
both of which are expected to support strong overall revenue growth. The credit
rating report goes on to state that MARTA’s expenditure flexibility is solid
with strong control over service levels and staffing balanced against moderate
fixed costs and a complex collective bargaining environment.
“This rating reflects MARTA’s fiscal
responsibility and sound budget management,” said MARTA Board of Directors
Chair Rita Scott. “During this period of economic recovery, my fellow board
members and I will continue to ensure MARTA is a good steward of its revenue,
implementing a comprehensive financial plan and maintaining healthy reserves.”
MARTA’s fiscal year 2023 operating budget
shows a 5.6 percent increase in net operating expenses over the fiscal 2022
budget to $587.6 million and includes no fare increase. The budget assumes a 4
percent increase in labor costs, uses the remaining $140.4 million in American
Rescue Plan Act funds and forecasts a $65 million surplus, or 10.6 percent of
net operating expenses.