TOLL ROADS: Traffic and revenues up in 2012

Hurricane Sandy has had a measurable impact on recent performance in the Northeast

News Fitch Ratings Inc. February 15, 2013
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Fitch Ratings has published a quarterly snapshot detailing volume and revenue trends for its rated toll roads in the U.S. Going forward, Fitch will continue to make this data available on a quarterly basis on www.fitchratings.com.

 

Calendar year-to-date (CYTD) traffic through November 2012 across nearly all of Fitch's rated U.S. toll road portfolio was up over the previous year. This is consistent with Fitch's expectations as reflected in the 2013 Outlook. The only notable exception would be the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, which are experiencing some price elasticity to their recent 50% toll increases. Given these improving traffic profiles and/or recent toll increases, CYTD revenues are up over the prior year for an even larger percentage of Fitch's rated portfolio.

 

On a geographic basis, the most resilient region remains the Southwest, particularly Texas and Oklahoma, as a result of more robust economic conditions. The weakest and most volatile region CYTD has been the Northeast; however it is important to note that many authorities have implemented significant rate increases, and Hurricane Sandy has had a measurable impact on recent performance.

 

Traffic on expressways continues to perform the strongest in 2012 due in part to new segments coming online and a primarily commuter-driven user base. The remaining facility types have performed relatively flat, and in tandem, with the notable exception of bridges in recent months resulting again from Hurricane Sandy's impact on the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Collectively, traffic on Fitch's U.S. toll road rated portfolio continues to display a greater resiliency than does the national vehicle-miles traveled as reported by the Federal Highway Administration.

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