BRADENTON, Fla. — For the second time in a month, Moody’s Investors Service today placed one of Florida’s highly rated credits on watch for possible downgrade.
Just ahead of the sale of $250 million of turnpike revenue bonds, Moody’s today said it is considering downgrading the Florida Department of Transportation’s Aa2 turnpike revenue bond rating because of “recent rapid declines in traffic and revenues on this well established toll road system brought on by a protracted and deep dislocation in Florida’s real estate market, the continued decline in employment and personal income, and relatively flat population growth and net migration.”
Florida has $2.5 billion of outstanding turnpike revenue debt.
On April 21, Moody’s placed the state’s implied Aa1 general obligation rating and several other state credits on watch for possible downgrade. The Aa1 rating applies to bonds that receive the state’s full faith and credit such as State Board of Education public education capital outlay bonds and FDOT’s right of way acquisition and bridge construction bonds. Also being considered for rating downgrades are the state’s leasing and facilities pool bond programs.
Following the placement of a credit on watch for downgrade, Moody’s determines what action it will take within 90 days.