CHICAGO — As Indiana sells $641 million of BBB-rated private activity bonds Tuesday, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings held conference calls to detail the rating criteria on what are the agencies' first public ratings for an availability-payment based public-private partnership in the United States.

The triple-B ratings are anchored by the credit strength of Indiana as counterparty, as well as the experience of the private team building and operating the bridge, and the expectation that the project will be able to stick to its schedule and budget, analysts said. But the possibility of delays and cost overruns during the construction period pose risks, as does the potential of reduced availability payments from the Indiana Finance Authority.

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