WASHINGTON — About $23 billion of transit bonds that are backed by sales tax have held onto strong credit ratings despite taking a hit from the economic recession and retaining their negative credit outlook, Moody’s Investors Service said Friday in a special report.

Extraordinarily weak dedicated transit sales tax revenues during the past two years stressed the sector and its debt-service coverage levels, causing Moody’s to put a negative outlook on the sector in February. But  the 22 issuers Moody’s rates in the sector have kept their footing during the recession.

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