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Hawaii DOT Airports Division Says Rise in Bond Rating to Cut Infrastructure Costs

Parul Dubey on November 7, 2017 - in Financial, News

The Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Airports Division said an upgrade in the revenue bond rating for the state airport system means it can make infrastructure improvements at lower debt service costs.

HDOT said Fitch Ratings raised its rating to A+ from A, citing the airport system’s continued strong operational and financial performance, with credit metrics remaining above previously forecast levels.

“The upgraded rating will translate into millions of dollars in savings through lower interest rates for future bond issuances,” said Kurt Yamasaki, HDOT Airports Division fiscal management officer. “We thank Fitch Ratings for working with us and acknowledging our efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

And with that action by Fitch, HDOT said all three major rating agencies now have equal ratings for the Airports Division.

“This ratings upgrade extends our buying power as we move forward with improvements at our airports,” said Gov. David Ige. “Achieving this upgrade is another accomplishment HDOT can be proud of as it pursues greater efficiency and maximizes infrastructure investments.”

The department noted that it is self-sustaining through user fees and does not receive general state revenues to operate. The airports system covers project costs, operating expenses and salaries from such sources as landing fees, terminal rentals, parking revenue, rental car customer facility charges and passenger facility charges.

The announcement also said the Airports Division is “planning exciting maintenance and capital improvement projects at our facilities statewide including new consolidated rental car facilities in Honolulu and Kahului, a terminal modernization project in Kona, airfield improvements in Hilo and runway and taxiway repaving in Lihue and Molokai.”

It has also has extended statewide an energy savings performance contract it has with Johnson Controls to replace existing lighting, reduce energy consumption and save electricity costs.

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