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Bond Buyers Bullish on Mobility Authority

By Mike Heiligenstein
The Mobility Authority is always working hard to be fiscally responsible. Like homeowners, we manage our debt to keep our financing costs low. We recently took advantage of a good market for bonds to refinance a portion of our current debt at a lower rate. Doing this saved $29.3 million in interest costs. What we found was that the market was enthusiastic about the Mobility Authority, with buyers willing to buy more than we were offering by a 10-1 ratio.

In our latest series of refunding bonds, we needed to raise $297 million. We went to the analysts who advise investors and showed them all of our cards: cash balances, long-range plans, strength of the regional economy and financial performance of 183A and the first phase of the Manor Expressway. We let them know we wouldn’t need to borrow money for the upgrade of MoPac because the local transportation planning group was putting $130 million into the project.

We were in a good position because during the subscription period, Moody’s upgraded some of our bonds. We worked through the banks and brokerages to sign up organizations and investors who would want to buy our bonds when we issued them.

At the time of offering, we got requests for more than $3.2 billion in bonds, but only needed $297 million.

It is great to know that the Mobility Authority and Central Texas are places people want to invest. They believe in our future and they believe in the value of mobility. That’s a great endorsement of Austin’s future.

Mike Heiligenstein has been the executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority since 2003.

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