Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


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June 8, 2000

MWRA Bond Rating Upgraded to AA-

The international rating agency Fitch yesterday upgraded the MWRA’s debt rating from A+ to AA- citing strong management and financial controls.

MWRA Executive Director Douglas B. MacDonald said "the bond rating agencies have been closely watching our financial practices and our progress on major projects such as the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Metrowest Water Supply Tunnel. We are very pleased that Fitch is the first rating agency to move us into double-A territory."

Fitch’s coordinator of municipal water and sewer ratings, Jason Dickerson, said that MWRA has displayed "management acumen," citing as examples "conservative financial and rate forecasting, meticulous long-term capital planning in cooperation with top-flight engineering professionals, and regular financial monitoring systems." Dickerson notes that the Boston Harbor project facilities are 98% complete, the ecosystem conditions are improving, and environmental officials call the project "one of America’s greatest environmental success stories."

Dickerson also said that "MWRA now approaches completion of history’s most significant environmental infrastructure under court order at lower cost than originally expected. With new infrastructure, MWRA’s future capital improvements look increasingly manageable" Fitch noted that "remaining challenges include additional rate increases on top of very high current charges, but that after 2010 "a slowing of rate increases appears more and more likely."

Fitch also upgraded the bond rating of MWRA’s largest customer, the Boston Water & Sewer Commission, from A+ to AA-. The financial strength of BWSC has been an important positive factor in MWRA’s rating.