Standard and Poor’s joins Fitch Ratings in assigning a ‘AAA’ rating to SWIRFT bonds
For immediate release. Contact: Sarah Haney at 512-463-5129
AUSTIN – (September 14, 2015) – Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has assigned a ‘AAA’ rating to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) bond issuance this fall from the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). Fitch Ratings announced last week that they had also assigned the bonds a ‘AAA’ rating. The ‘AAA’ rating is the highest assigned rating and will allow the TWDB to continue to pass on cost savings to its customers.
The TWDB will take the approximately $1 billion in bonds to market this fall and close on the SWIRFT loans by the end of the year. The entities receiving financial assistance from the SWIRFT are estimated to save over $115 million over the life of the loans.
"SWIRFT's AAA rating reaffirms the Texas economy and the state as a whole are on solid fiscal ground," said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. "It is important for Texas state agencies and funds such as SWIRFT to maintain high ratings so they can issue bonds at a much lower cost, saving the state and taxpayers significant money over time.”
“This is a significant accomplishment as we move forward with the inaugural round of SWIRFT funding,” said TWDB Chairman Bech Bruun. “The financial world recognizes the strong financial foundation that supports our State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program. Ratepayers and citizens will reap the benefits by obtaining the best interest rates and structures possible for these water projects. This is a win for Texas water.”
The TWDB approved approximately $3.9 billion in funding over the next decade to 21 entities for 32 state water plan projects across the state in the first round of SWIRFT.
The TWDB expects to open the application process for the second round of SWIRFT in December 2015.
“SWIRFT is a valuable financial tool that allows the TWDB to assist in meeting the ever growing water demands of Texas,” said TWDB Board member Kathleen Jackson. “The continual growth of the state is a call to communities to offer solutions and plans for maintaining and developing new water supplies. It is our hope that communities will answer the call by applying for SWIRFT and examining the beneficial financial options made available through the program.”
SWIRFT was established along with SWIFT by the Texas Legislature and voters in 2013 to fund projects in the state water plan. SWIFT was created through the transfer of a one-time, $2 billion appropriation from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The $2 billion will be leveraged with revenue bonds over the next 50 years to finance approximately $27 billion in water supply projects. More information on the SWIFT program is available on our website: www.twdb.texas.gov/financial/programs/swift/.
The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state’s water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.