Moody’s upgrades Sound Transit bond ratings as part of new system

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Moody's revamping of its U.S. municipal ratings system shifts Sound Transit near top of scale.

Sound Transit's Moody's Investor Service ratings for both its senior and subordinate bonds has shifted upward a notch as Moody's updates its system to reflect the lower risks associated with bonds issued by many local governments.

Already among the highest rated transit agencies in the country before the change, Sound Transit debt ratings from Moody's for its senior debts moved up from Aa2 to Aa1, and from Aa3 to Aa2 for its subordinate bonds. Sound Transit's senior and subordinate bonds are rated AAA by Standard and Poor's, the highest possible rating.

Moody's shift to a global scale for both public and private debt eliminates using two ratings systems to evaluate credit risks. Instead, government and other public bonds are now evaluated at a comparable level to corporate and other non-municipal debt.

"This upgrade reflects Sound Transit's strong fiscal management and is good news for the taxpayers of the region," said Sound Transit chief financial officer Brian McCartan. "It will allow Sound Transit to borrow funds more cheaply, saving tax dollars."