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NEWS

Rating Outlooks On Most U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Issuers Revised To Stable From Negative

COMMENTS

Credit Trends: U.S. Corporate Upgrades Reach A New High In The Second Quarter

COMMENTS

Updated Activity Estimates For U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Show Recovery For Air Travel Demand Accelerating And Public Transit Lagging

SUMMARY

Summary: Freddie Mac (Series ML-11 Class A-US); Custodial Receipts

COMMENTS

U.S. Credit Card Quality Index: Monthly Performance--June 2021


Rating Outlooks On Most U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Issuers Revised To Stable From Negative

BOSTON (S&P Global Ratings) April 22, 2021--S&P Global Ratings today revised the outlooks on 185 long-term debt ratings associated with 126 issuers in the U.S. not-for-profit transportation infrastructure sector to stable from negative due to a variety of factors that we expect will improve and stabilize the credit-quality landscape over the next 12-24 months. These outlook revisions apply to asset classes most affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including operators of airports, transit, parking, toll roads, and ports. We had revised the outlooks to negative for almost all issuers in those transportation infrastructure asset classes on March 26, 2020. (See "Ratings Outlooks On U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Issuers Revised To Negative Due To COVID-19 Pandemic," published on RatingsDirect).

For a list of rating outlooks affected by today's action, see tables 1-6. For issuers that do not appear in tables 1-6, refer to the relevant list in "Related Research". We will publish a complete list of transit ratings and outlooks in the near term.

S&P Global Ratings will continue to monitor and update the market related to notable trends as we gauge the shape of the economic and operational recovery. We will continue to monitor the remaining ratings and will revise the negative outlooks when we believe issuer-specific conditions warrant.

As summarized in "U.S. Not-For-Profit Transportation Infrastructure Sector View Is Now Stable For Airports, Mass Transit, And Toll Roads," published March 24, 2021, we view the business conditions and landscape for U.S. transportation infrastructure issuers as markedly improved since the beginning of the year. Specifically, we believe current positive trends--combined with substantial amounts of federal grants to the transit and airport sectors--have reduced the likelihood of weakened credit quality among the issuers that we rate. In our view, these trends suggest a likely return to sustainable levels of demand over a period broadly in line with or better than our baseline activity estimates for some sectors (i.e., ports and toll asset classes, in particular), which we believe to be supportive of stable, albeit weaker financial performance for many issuers. Rating outlooks that remain negative (e.g., parking operators) reflect our opinion that there still exists a one-third or higher likelihood of negative rating actions. The outlooks for those ratings could be revised to stable if demand recovers and stabilizes, producing financial metrics that we believe are sustainable and that we consider consistent with the current ratings.

Examples of credit conditions we see as stabilizing and contributing to today's action include the following.

Forecast of faster GDP growth, lower recession risk, and higher levels of disposable income are spurring travel and economic activity.   S&P Global Economics has raised its real GDP growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022 to 6.5% and 3.1%, respectively, and now expects the U.S. economy will return to 2019 levels during the second quarter, one quarter earlier than without the American Rescue Plan (ARP) stimulus. An accelerating U.S. economic recovery has also reduced the risk of recession and consumer spending is forecast to jump by 6.9% in 2021--a 66-year high, and 4.2% the following year. (See "Economic Outlook U.S. Q2 2021: Let The Good Times Roll," March 24, 2021.)

Improving traffic, ridership, and air travel demand are fueling the turnaround.   Activity reports across the airport, mass transit, and toll sectors show still depressed but generally improving trends in key operating metrics. We expect cargo volumes currently resulting in severe congestion at several U.S. ports will be resolved in the coming months. After non-cruise-related ports, operators of tolled facilities have demonstrated the best recovery in demand and financial metrics, particularly large, inter-, or intrastate systems that derive a material amount of their toll revenue from commercial vehicle traffic that has trended relatively well during the pandemic. However, transit ridership and air passenger travel have only recaptured approximately 40% of pre-pandemic levels, and while linked to GDP growth are also dependent on perceived health and safety conditions. Transit, parking, and some toll operators could face additional headwinds related to changes in user preferences and post-pandemic commuting patterns as the substitution of technology and remote working affects system utilization.

Improving health and safety conditions are allowing states to ease restrictions.   After a slow initial rollout, vaccination efforts by states and territories are contributing to improving domestic health and safety considerations, which suggest conditions supportive of higher levels of overall travel within the U.S., although international travel will remain challenged.

Direct federal grants to transit and airport operators will bolster liquidity.   The $1.9 trillion ARP, passed into law on March 11, 2021, provides financial flexibility to transit and airport operators by funding $30.5 billion and $8 billion, respectively, in grant programs. Although these grants are no substitute for a recovery in reoccurring operating revenues, in our opinion, this latest infusion of federal dollars will bolster liquidity positions and provide important financial flexibility for the next 24-36 months as activity returns to sustainable levels, likely reducing any erosion in credit quality. Before ARP was passed, these sectors received more than $60 billion in direct federal aid on a combined basis, with the U.S. airlines having received approximately $82 billion in support since the beginning of the pandemic.

S&P Global Ratings' universe of almost 300 not-for-profit transportation infrastructure senior and subordinated ratings has a modal rating of 'A'. With this action, the number of transportation infrastructure ratings with a negative outlook falls to 20% from 85%. Almost all of the issuers that we rate are subject to volume risk--that is, they are dependent on passengers, riders, cargo, and vehicles to generate operating revenues necessary to meet operating requirements, debt service obligations, and capital needs.

Table 1

U.S. Airport Ratings And Outlooks As Of April 22, 2021 (A-L)
Issuer State Rating/outlook as of April 22, 2021 Previous rating/outlook
Albany International Airport NY A-/Stable A-/Negative
Augusta Regional Airport GA BBB-/Stable BBB-/Negative
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport TX A/Stable A/Negative
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (second lien) TX A-/Stable A-/Negative
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (CFC) TX BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Baltimore/Washington International Airport (PFC) MD A/Stable A/Negative
Bradley International Airport CT A/Stable A/Negative
Bradley International Airport (CFC) CT BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority CA A/Stable A/Negative
Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport (second lien) TX A/Stable A/Negative
Bush Intercontinental Airport (CFC) TX BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Charleston County Airport SC A/Stable A/Negative
Chicago Midway International Airport IL A-/Stable A-/Negative
Chicago Midway International Airport (second lien) IL A-/Stable A-/Negative
Chicago O'Hare International Airport IL A/Stable A/Negative
Chicago O'Hare International Airport (PFC) IL A/Stable A/Negative
Chicago O'Hare International Airport (CFC) IL BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Chicago O'Hare International Airport (CFC--second lien TIFIA) IL BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport OH A-/Stable A-/Negative
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport TX A/Stable A/Negative
Dayton International Airport OH BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Denver International Airport CO A+/Stable A+/Negative
Denver International Airport (second lien) CO A/Stable A/Negative
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport MI A-/Stable A-/Negative
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (second lien) MI BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
El Paso International Airport TX A/Stable A/Negative
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport FL A/Stable A/Negative
Fresno Yosemite International Airport CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport GA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (second lien) GA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (CFC) GA BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Hawaii Airport System HI A+/Stable A+/Negative
Hawaii Airport System (second lien) HI A/Stable A/Negative
Hawaii Airport System (CFC) HI A-/Stable A-/Negative
Indianapolis Airport Authority IN A-/Stable A-/Negative
Jackson County Rogue Valley International Medford Airport OR A-/Stable A-/Negative
John Wayne Airport CA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Kansas City International Airport MO A-/Stable A-/Negative
LAXFUEL Corp. CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Los Angeles International Airport CA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Los Angeles International Airport (second lien) CA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Louisville International Airport KY A/Stable A/Negative
Love Field Airport Modernization Corp. TX A-/Stable A-/Negative

Table 2

U.S. Airport Ratings And Outlooks As Of April 22, 2021 (M-Z)
Issuer State Rating/outlook as of April 22, 2021 Previous rating/outlook
Manchester Boston Regional Airport / Manchester Airport NH BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Massachusetts Port Authority (Boston Logan International Airport) MA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Massachusetts Port Authority (Boston Logan International Airport) (CFC) MA BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Memphis International Airport TN A/Stable A/Negative
Miami International Airport FL A-/Stable A-/Negative
Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport MN A+/Stable A+/Negative
Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (second lien) MN A/Stable A/Negative
Mobile Airport Authority AL BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Myrtle Beach International Airport SC A/Stable A/Negative
Nashville International Airport TN A/Stable A/Negative
New Orleans Aviation Board (Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) LA A-/Stable A-/Negative
New Orleans Aviation Board (Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) (CFC) LA BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Norfolk Airport Authority VA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Omaha Eppley Airfield NE A+/Stable A+/Negative
Orlando International Airport FL A+/Stable A+/Negative
Orlando International Airport (second lien) FL A/Stable A/Negative
Palm Beach International Airport FL A/Stable A/Negative
Palm Springs International Airport (PFC) CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Philadelphia International Airport PA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport AZ A+/Stable A+/Negative
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (second lien) AZ A/Stable A/Negative
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (CFC) AZ BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey NY A+/Stable A+/Negative
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (Newark Housing Authority) (O&M lien) NY A+/Stable A+/Negative
New York Liberty Development Corp. (4 World Trade Center)--based off of PANNYNJ rating NY A/Stable A/Negative
Port of Oakland (Oakland International Airport) CA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Port of Oakland (Oakland International Airport) (third lien) CA A/Stable A/Negative
Port of Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) WA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Port of Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) (GO) WA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Port of Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) (second lien) WA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Port of Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) (third lien) WA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Port of Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) (PFC) WA A/Stable A/Negative
Portland International Airport OR A+/Stable A+/Negative
Portland International Airport (PFC) OR A/Stable A/Negative
Portland International Airport (CFC) OR BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Portland International Jetport ME BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Rhode Island Airport Corporation (T.F. Green International Airport) RI A-/Stable A-/Negative
Rhode Island Airport Corporation (T.F. Green International Airport) (CFC) RI BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Sacramento International Airport CA A/Stable A/Negative
Sacramento International Airport (second lien) CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Salt Lake City International Airport UT A/Stable A/Negative
San Antonio International Airport TX A/Stable A/Negative
San Antonio International Airport (second lien) TX A-/Stable A-/Negative
San Antonio International Airport (CFC) TX BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
San Diego County Regional Airport Authority CA A/Stable A/Negative
San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (second lien) CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (CFC) CA BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
SEATAC Fuel Facilities LLC WA A-/Stable A-/Negative
SFO Fuel Co. LLC CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Southwest Florida International Airport FL A-/Stable A-/Negative
St. Louis Lambert International Airport MO A-/Stable A-/Negative
Tampa International Airport FL A+/Stable A+/Negative
Tampa International Airport (second lien) FL A/Stable A/Negative
Tampa International Airport (CFC) FL BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Tulsa International Airport OK A-/Stable A-/Negative
Washington Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport DC A+/Stable A+/Negative
Will Rogers World Airport (second lien) OK A/Stable A/Negative

Table 3

U.S. Mass Transit Ratings And Outlooks As Of April 22, 2021
Issuer State Rating/outlook as of April 22, 2021 Previous rating/outlook
Alameda Contra Costa Transit District CA AA/Stable AA/Negative
Chicago Transit Authority IL A+/Stable A+/Negative
Corpus Christi Regional Transporation Authority TX AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Napa Valley Transportation Authority CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board CA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Regional Transportation District CO AA/Stable AA/Negative
San Diego Metropolitan Transit System CA AA/Stable AA/Negative
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency CA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority TX AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority DC AA-/Stable AA-/Negative

Table 4

U.S. Public Parking Facilities Ratings And Outlooks As Of April 22, 2021
Issuer State Rating/outlook as of April 22, 2021 Previous rating/outlook
Baltimore Mayor & City Council MD AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Texas Medical Center TX AA-/Stable AA-/Negative

Table 5

U.S. Public Port Ratings And Outlooks As Of April 22, 2021
Issuer State Rating/outlook as of April 22, 2021 Previous rating/outlook
Alabama State Port Authority AL A-/Stable A-/Negative
Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (second lien) CA BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Brownsville Navigation District TX A+/Stable A+/Negative
Long Beach Harbor Department CA AA/Stable AA/Negative
Los Angeles Harbor Department CA AA/Stable AA/Negative
Oxnard Harbor District CA A/Stable A/Negative
Port Freeport TX A+/Stable A+/Negative
Port of Alaska AK A/Stable A/Negative
Port of Corpus Christi Authority TX A+/Stable A+/Negative
Port of New Orleans Board of Commissioners LA A/Stable A/Negative
South Carolina State Ports Authority SC A+/Stable A+/Negative
Virginia Port Authority (ICR) VA A/Stable A/Negative
Virginia Port Authority (third lien) VA A-/Stable A-/Negative

Table 6

U.S. Toll Road Ratings And Outlooks As Of April 22, 2021
Issuer State Rating/outlook as of April 22, 2021 Previous rating/outlook
Alligator Alley FL AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Bay Area Toll Authority CA AA/Stable AA/Negative
Bay Area Toll Authority (second lien) CA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Central Texas Turnpike System TX A/Stable A/Negative
Central Texas Turnpike System (second lien) TX A-/Stable A-/Negative
Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel District VA BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel District (third lien) VA BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Delaware River & Bay Authority DE A/Stable A/Negative
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission PA A/Stable A/Negative
Delaware River Port Authority PA A+/Stable A+/Negative
Delaware River Port Authority (second lien) PA A/Stable A/Negative
E-470 Public Highway Authority CO A/Stable A/Negative
Florida Turnpike Enterprise FL AA/Stable AA/Negative
Foothill-Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Foothill-Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (second lien) CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
Foothill-Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (third lien) CA BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District CA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Grand Parkway Transportation Corp. TX BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Grand Parkway Transportation Corp. (second lien) TX BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission LA A/Stable A/Negative
Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission (second lien) LA A/Stable A/Negative
Harris County Toll Road Authority TX AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority IL AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Kansas Turnpike Authority KS AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Laredo (Laredo Bridge) TX A+/Stable A+/Negative
Laredo (Laredo Bridge) (second lien) TX A/Stable A/Negative
Lee County (bridge system) FL A+/Stable A+/Negative
Maine Turnpike Authority ME AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Maine Turnpike Authority (subordinate lien) ME A+/Stable A+/Negative
Maryland Transportation Authority MD AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
McAllen International Toll Bridge TX A/Stable A/Negative
Miami Dade County (Rickenbacker Causeway) FL A-/Stable A-/Negative
Mid Bay Bridge Authority FL BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Mid Bay Bridge Authority (second lien) FL BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Montgomery County Toll Road Authority TX BBB-/Stable BBB-/Negative
New Hampshire Turnpike NH AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
New Jersey Turnpike Authority NJ A+/Stable A+/Negative
New York State Thruway Authority NY A/Stable A/Negative
New York State Thruway Authority (second lien) NY A-/Stable A-/Negative
North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority TX BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (second lien) TX BBB-/Stable BBB-/Negative
Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission OH AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (second lien) OH A+/Stable A+/Negative
Oklahoma Turnpike Authority OK AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (Gilcrease Expressway West Project) OK BBB-/Stable BBB-/Negative
Orange County Transportation Authority (SR-91 Express Lanes) CA AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Osceola County Parkway (Osceola Parkway) FL BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
Rhode Island Turnpike & Bridge Authority RI A-/Stable A-/Negative
Riverside County Transportation Commission (SR-91 Express Lanes) CA A/Stable A/Negative
San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (second lien) CA A-/Stable A-/Negative
San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (third lien) CA BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
South Jersey Transportation Authority NJ BBB+/Stable BBB+/Negative
South Jersey Transportation Authority (second lien) NJ BBB/Stable BBB/Negative
Sunshine Skyway Bridge FL A/Stable A/Negative
Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority FL A+/Stable A+/Negative
Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority NY AA-/Stable AA-/Negative
Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority (second lien) NY A+/Stable A+/Negative
West Virginia Parkways Authority WV AA-/Stable AA-/Negative

Related Research

Certain terms used in this report, particularly certain adjectives used to express our view on rating relevant factors, have specific meanings ascribed to them in our criteria, and should therefore be read in conjunction with such criteria. Please see Ratings Criteria at www.standardandpoors.com for further information. Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect at www.capitaliq.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on S&P Global Ratings' public website at www.standardandpoors.com. Use the Ratings search box located in the left column.

Primary Credit Analysts:Kurt E Forsgren, Boston + 1 (617) 530 8308;
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