IRVINE, Calif. - January 29, 2021
The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) has executed a bond refunding transaction on certain outstanding 2013A and all 2013C bonds in a move that further strengthens the Agency’s cash position and creates additional flexibility to pay down other bonds early or invest in key capital projects.
“This transaction is another example of how the F/ETCA works in the best interest of the public to reduce debt service and ensure the long-term financial health of the Agency. I commend the work our staff has done to facilitate the continued strong fiscal position of the Agency,” said F/ETCA Chair and Yorba Linda Mayor Peggy Huang.
The refunding decreases annual debt payments every year without extending any bond maturity dates, resulting in a reduction in debt service payments in excess of $210 million net of all transaction costs. The transaction was innovative and contained several components including an exchange of bonds with existing investors, the largest component of the transaction, and publicly sold tax-exempt and taxable bonds. The three components showed strong interest from investors, with current holders retaining over 70 percent of the outstanding bonds through the exchange and more than 50 investors submitting orders for each of the tax-exempt and taxable bond offerings. Demand for the bonds well exceeded the size of the offerings.
The Agency has previously seized upon favorable market conditions such as the low interest rates available today to improve upon the financial position of the Agency. Similar actions in 2017 and 2019 saved the Agency over $400 million in debt payments without extending any bond maturity dates.
“We are committed to working with our elected leadership to seek out ways in which we can serve our nearly 2 million accountholders by further enhancing the Agency’s strong financial position,” said Transportation Corridor Agencies CFO Amy Potter. “We are also proud of the results of our tender and exchange offer and the successful sale of refunding bonds, which shows investor confidence in our credit.”
CEO Samuel Johnson noted that, “TCA’s focus on sound fiscal practices and innovation were on full display with this refunding. Our team evaluated market conditions and developed a strategy that appealed to both current and new investors, resulting in significant savings and strengthening the Agency’s ability to further reduce debt and consider support of regional projects like the Ortega Highway widening and the County’s Los Patrones Extension.”
TCA’s management strengths and long-term financial model have been recognized repeatedly by credit rating agencies including Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s, which have rated all of TCA’s bonds as investment grade.
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California Legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s public toll road system comprised of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.