Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hawaii Harbor Division Bond Rating Rises

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division’s revenue bonds Series 2010 A and 2010 B rating went from an “A+” to “AA-” according from Fitch Ratings, which affirmed the upgrade Wednesday.

“Fitch’s upgrade of the Harbor Division’s bond rating – the second over the past two years – is great news and reaffirms the strong fiscal policies for which my administration has advocated,” Gov. David Ige said in a statement. “This allows us to issue our bonds at lower interest rates, increasing our buying power and providing the tools to undertake and complete statewide construction and upgrade projects, like the Kapalama Container Terminal, that ensures the continued delivery of goods that are essential for Hawaii’s communities.”

The upgrade reflects the harbor system’s continued strong financial performance in terms of coverage, liquidity, and leverage, said Harbors Division Deputy Director Darrell Young.

“We’ve focused our attention on changing the manner in which we finance our projects as a means of completing necessary statewide upgrades and construction projects more efficiently,” Young said. “By utilizing a cash financing program, we’ve been able to delay the issuance of new bond debt and to put more of our available funds directly into our Harbor Modernization projects instead of using those funds to pay for additional debt service.”