Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Utah Transit Authority gives preliminary OK to borrow more

The Utah Transit Authority is taking the first steps toward borrowing up to another $320 million to finance ongoing construction of new TRAX and FrontRunner commuter rail projects.

Its executive committee voted Monday to forward to UTA’s full board a legal resolution to allow borrowing that much soon.

However, officials are unsure exactly how much they want to borrow.

They said Monday they have long planned to borrow about $180 million this year or early next year to finish financing projects that include extensions of FrontRunner from Salt Lake City to Provo, and TRAX extensions to Draper, Salt Lake City International Airport, West Valley City and Daybreak.

On top of that, they now also are considering refinancing up to $140 million in variable-rate bonds issued earlier, hoping to lock in relatively low long-term fixed rates.

Last year when UTA borrowed $100 million to keep its rail construction projects on track, Fitch Ratings downgraded UTA to an A+ rating from a AA- rating that it had given recently to similar UTA bonds. Salt Lake Tribune

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