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Fitch Rates Alaska Railroad Corp. Capital Grant Receipts Bds 'A'.



NEW YORK New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 -- Fitch assigns an 'A' rating to the approximately $80.5 million Alaska Railroad The Alaska Railroad (AAR reporting marks ARR) is a Class II railroad that extends from Seward, in the south of the state of Alaska, in the United States, to Fairbanks, in the interior of that state.  Corporation (ARRC ARRC Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (NATO)
ARRC Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps (NATO)
ARRC Associate of the Royal Red Cross
ARRC Atmospheric Radar Research Center
, or the corporation) capital grant receipts bonds, series 2006 (FTA FTA
abbr.
Future Teachers of America
 Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Funds and Section 5309 Fixed Guideway Modernization Formula Funds). The bonds, which are expected to sell through negotiation by a Citigroup-led syndicate on or about August 9, will pay interest each Feb 1 and Aug 1, and will mature each Aug 1, 2008-2021. Bond proceeds will be used to finance a portion of the ARRC's 2006-2010 capital program eligible for Federal Transit Administration The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems. The FTA is one of eleven modal administrations within the DOT.  (FTA) funding, pay costs associated with a surety policy to satisfy the debt service reserve fund requirement, provide capitalized interest Capitalized interest

Interest that is not immediately expensed, but rather is considered as an asset and is then amortized through the income statement over time. In the context of project financing, interest that is paid by additional borrowing.
 through Feb 1, 2008 and pay costs of issuance. The Outlook is Stable.

The bonds are ARRC's first issuance of debt secured by grant receipts consisting of FTA Section 5307 and Section 5309 formula funds. Although the corporation's covenants under the trust indenture establish a sum sufficient debt service payment stream, the security pledge is more broadly defined to include all of ARRC's share of Section 5307 and Section 5309 formula funds. The bonds are further secured by a debt service reserve fund equal to one-half maximum annual debt service (MADS).

Fitch's 'A' rating reflects the long established track record of federal transit funding. Although the corporation has only received federal transit funds since 1998 with limited amounts provided until a substantial funding increase beginning this year, the rating also considers the long history of federal involvement in the railroad's development and operations since 1914. Additional strengths include the corporation's covenant that in each federal fiscal year it will request obligation authority for next year's debt service payment on a priority basis, and the transfer of grant receipts sufficient to pay debt service one year in advance of a payment date. This provides a significant time cushion for ARRC to take corrective actions in the unlikely event of delayed or lower than expected grant receipts. Although the 1.50 times (x) MADS additional bonds test Additional bonds test

A test for ensuring that bond issuers can meet the debt service requirements of issuing any new additional bonds.


additional bonds test 
 (ABT ABT About
ABT Abteilung (German: Department)
ABT Abbott Laboratories (stock symbol)
ABT American Ballet Theatre
ABT Associação Brasileira de Telemarketing
ABT Abort
ABT Availability Based Tariff
) allows for a greater degree of leveraging than some other debt programs leveraging federal transportation funds, the ABT, in combination with the authority's need to maintain a pay-as-you go capital program to maximize future Section 5307 and Section 5309 formula fund receipts, is expected to moderate future borrowing.

A risk for these bonds is the potential for significant changes in federal transit funding policy with each new authorization period. An interruption in the flow of federal transit funding is highly unlikely given the broad-based political support for the program. However, the most recent multi-year reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program was significantly delayed. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
''For the 2005 Transportation Equity Act, see


The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) was enacted June 9, 1998, as Public Law 105-178.
 (TEA-21) expired on Sept. 30, 2003 without a successor multi-year authorization, although 12 short-term extensions were passed. While the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act -- A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU SAFETEA-LU Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users ) took nearly two years to enact, it included a 46% increase in federal transit funding.

The 15-year maturity for this series exposes bondholders to reauthorization risk. Assuming the continued practice of six year federal transportation authorization periods, the bonds will typically span three such periods, while similar debt programs with shorter maturities generally cover up to two authorization periods. Two subsequent issuances are expected to have a 12 year-15 year maturity profile. Reauthorization risk is partially mitigated by debt service coverage of at least 1.8x against federal fiscal 2006 FTA Section 5307 and Section 5309 formula funds, assuming an expected total issuance of $155.6 million.

Reflecting a 2005 change in the formula funding allocation to ARRC, the corporation's FTA Section 5307 and Section 5309 formula funding levels under SAFTEA-LU SAFTEA-LU Safe, Accountable, Flexible Transportation Equity Act-Legacy for Users  represent a more than four fold increase over TEA-21 funding levels. While the significant increase in FTA Section 5307 and Section 5309 formula funds largely reflects a strategy to reduce the corporation's reliance on non-pledged federal discretionary funds and provide a more predictable capital funding source, future funding growth prospects may be limited given continuing federal budget deficits and national security concerns, coupled with the possibility of changing federal priorities and/or federal highway trust fund and mass transit mass transit, public transportation systems designed to move large numbers of passengers. Types and Advantages


Mass transit refers to municipal or regional public shared transportation, such as buses, streetcars, and ferries, open to all on a
 account resource constraints. However, this risk is sufficiently hedged, consistent with Fitch's 'A' rating, given the long term support for the national surface transportation program, ARRC's role serving an important transportation corridor with limited highway alternatives, and expected debt service coverage.

The ARRC is a public corporation created by the Alaska Railroad Corporation Act and is an instrumentality Instrumentality

Notes issued by a federal agency whose obligations are guaranteed by the full-faith-and-credit of the government, even though the agency's responsibilities are not necessarily those of the US government.
 of the State within the department of commerce, community and economic development. The ARRC was created in 1985 as part of the transfer of the Alaska Railroad to the state from the federal government which owned the railroad since 1914. The corporation operates an integrated passenger and freight railroad, annually serving 471,000 passengers and moving 25.1 million tons of freight along 470 route miles extending from Seward, AK north to Fairbanks, AK.

Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use Terms of Use are rules set up by the owner of an intellectual property or service to govern how they may be legally used.

In many cases, terms of service are used as a contractual agreement between a company and users of a service they provide.
 of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, www.fitchratings.com. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures Policies and Procedures are a set of documents that describe an organization's policies for operation and the procedures necessary to fulfill the policies. They are often initiated because of some external requirement, such as environmental compliance or other governmental  are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site.
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Comment:Fitch Rates Alaska Railroad Corp. Capital Grant Receipts Bds 'A'.
Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 25, 2006
Words:890
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