PHOENIX — Fitch Ratings has affirmed the AA-minus rating on Bay Area Toll Authority, Calif.’s approximately $5.7 billion outstanding senior lien toll bridge revenue bonds.

Fitch announced the affirmation Thursday, and said its outlook for the bonds remains stable.

BATA was created by the California legislature in 1997 to administer the toll on the San Francisco Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges, and subsequently had its authority expanded to include administration of all toll revenue and joint oversight of the toll bridge construction program with Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission.

“The rating reflects the monopolistic nature of the asset with stable traffic and revenue performance on the authority's base following a period of significant toll increases,” Fitch said. The rating is buoyed by how well-established the system is and the economic strength of the area, the rating agency said.

The rating could be pushed down by BATA taking on more debt without raising tolls, or could be lifted further if the authority becomes less leveraged, Fitch said.

Fitch does not rate BATA's $3.6 billion of outstanding subordinate lien toll bridge revenue bonds.

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