New Jersey Turnpike Authority to Sell $1 Billion in Debt

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority, operator of the state’s biggest toll roads, is scheduled to sell $1 billion in bonds as soon as May 13 to fund projects on the state’s namesake roadways.

Proceeds from the fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds will be used to finance the agency’s $7 billion capital program, which includes a widening of the turnpike now under way. That project is scheduled to be completed by November, the agency said in its 2014 Capital Project & Investment Plan report.

Moody’s Investors Service yesterday raised its outlook on the authority’s debt to positive from stable, citing persistent demand by drivers through toll increases, the recession and bad weather. The bonds are rated A3, seventh highest.

Moody’s said Governor Chris Christie’s ability to siphon turnpike revenue for other purposes and veto all board decisions “exposes the authority’s credit to political influence which could compete with bondholder protection.”

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