September 12, 2017 / 7:14 PM / 3 months ago

Irma won't hurt Florida airports', toll roads' credit -Moody's

Sept 12 (Reuters) - Despite the widespread flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Irma, Florida airports, seaports and toll roads will maintain their credit worthiness thanks to cash on hand and steady revenue streams, Moody’s investor service said on Tuesday.

Moody’s has identified 20 transportation infrastructure debt-issuers - with roughly $20 billion in combined outstanding debt - and said they have ample previous experience with major storms like Irma, which has caused power outages, flooding and damage throughout Florida.

The Jacksonville Port Authority, Miami-Dade County Airport Enterprise, and the Florida Department of Transportation, among the other entities, will also be compensated by insurers, the ratings agency said.

“These transportation entities will be negatively affected by disruptions to operations and losses of revenue in the short run,” Moody’s wrote in a Sept 11 client note that it passed to reporters on Tuesday. “However, these issuers will generally be able to sustain their long-term credit quality.”

The issuers generally have “strong-to-satisfactory” conditions regarding cash on hand, and several issuers also have committed and largely undrawn credit lines, Moody’s said.

Five government-owned toll roads Moody’s highlighted on average are able to use cash on hand to cover 2,200 days of operating expenses. While the liquidity of airports and seaports is not quite as strong, “it still provides them with a healthy degree of flexibility,” Moody’s said. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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