New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority increased its transportation revenue bond issue on Tuesday by 30%, to $729.1 million from an estimated $556 million during retail pricing.
Wells Fargo Securities led the syndicate of 25 underwriters, which included M.R. Beal & Co., Barclays Capital and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Yields were lowered up to 11 basis points from retail pricing. The 2016 maturity first priced with a 1.37% yield and was cut to 1.26% in the final pricing.
Yields on the bonds ranged from 0.2% with a 2% coupon in 2012 to 4.3% with a 4.25% in 2042. Bonds maturing in 2047 yielded 4.26% with a 5% coupon. The bonds are callable at par in 2022.
MTA finance director, Patrick McCoy said coordinated and efficient marketing for the deal helped stimulate high demand.
“Wells Fargo and M.R. Beal worked hard. … The sales force did their job and made sure investors were aware of the transaction,” McCoy said. The road show for this deal was the first the authority has done so far this year.
This week’s transaction was the second leg of a financing that kicked off with a $400 million revenue bond sale last month.
“We understood the municipal market this week doesn’t have any big noticeable negotiated deals like this and it sort of became the big deal of the week,” McCoy said.
Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University’s Wagner School, said the MTA has excellent leadership and strong ridership.
“The irony is, the recession has led to greater use of the system — it’s at an all-time high. People are now relying on the MTA 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Moss said.
In 2011 the average weekday subway ridership was 5.3 million, the highest since 1951, according to the MTA’s website. And it is spending billions of dollars on capital improvements.
Of the MTA’s leadership, Moss said that “there are smarter and more responsible public finance professionals at the MTA, and people in the know understand that.”
“This is not Stockton,” he added, referring to the financially troubled California city that is trying to avoid bankruptcy.
The authority’s bonds have medium-grade ratings of A2 by Moody’s Investors Service and A by both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
Proceeds will go toward financing transit and commuter projects.
The MTA, which is the largest mass transit system in the country, is scheduled to issue $250 million of Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority bonds in late May or early June.