DALLAS — Amid the biggest building binge in its history, the North Texas Tollway Authority ranked as the top debt issuer in the Southwest in 2011, with more than $2.1 billion sold, according to Thomson Reuters.
Houston was a close second, selling slightly less than $2.1 billion. Market share for the two issuers was the same at 5.1%, according to the annual data.
In third was the Arizona Transportation Board with $874 million and a 2.1% share of the market. The city and county of Denver ranked fourth with $792.3 million and a 1.9% share, followed by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority with $683.7 million and a 1.7% share.
Rounding out the top 10 were the Texas Public Finance Authority with $668 million, the Utah State Board of Regents with $632 million, the state of Utah with $609.9 million, the Lower Colorado River Authority with $599.2 million, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with $591.2 million.
The NTTA developed a series of major financial deals to build three projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as it shifts to new leadership and a federal investigation of past practices.
On Dec. 20, the authority broke ground on its first project in Tarrant County, the $1.4 billion Chisholm Trail Parkway that will run 27.6 miles from downtown Fort Worth to the suburb of Cleburne.
In November, the NTTA priced $566.9 million of Series D special system revenue bonds backed by revenues from the Chisholm Trail Parkway and another project, State Highway 161 in Dallas County.
The bonds, rated AA by Standard & Poor’s and AA-minus by Fitch Ratings, drew yields of 4.24% on 5% coupons maturing in 2032.
The same month, the NTTA issued $268.6 million of revenue bonds to refund Series 2008E-2 put bonds.
In April, the NTTA issued $673 million of long-term revenue bonds for the State Highway 161 project, also known as the Bush Turnpike Western Extension, along with $500 million of notes. That tollway travels north-south through western Dallas County and will connect the President George Bush Turnpike with U.S. 183, and Interstates 30 and 20 to the south.
As the finance and construction activity was gaining momentum, Victor Vandergriff of Arlington turned over the chairmanship to former Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr.
During the transition, the NTTA revealed in its preliminary official statement for the November issues that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating the board for unspecified practices.
Last month, the board agreed to pay legal fees for David Denison, who was identified as one of the board members facing FBI scrutiny.
Denison revealed a possible conflict after the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported his involvement in the purchase of 625 acres along the planned Chisholm Trail Parkway.
“I believe with respect to performance of my duties as a director of NTTA that I have acted at all times in good faith, my conduct was not opposed to the best interests of NTTA, and I did not have reasonable cause to believe that my conduct was unlawful,” Denison wrote in a letter to NTTA general counsel Thomas Bamonte.