Fitch Recognizes Grand Parkway’s Early Successes, Sees Positive Signs for Greenfield Toll Road Projects

Fitch Ratings issued a January 24 statement on Grand Parkway Transportation Corporation (GPTC) financial performance and traffic that, according to Fitch, represent a “positive sign” for greenfield toll road projects. The public, non-profit corporation “issued $2.9 billion of toll revenue bonds in 2013 to finance the design and construction of major sections of a third ring road around Houston,” and, according to Fitch, it “is well on track to meet expectations relative to its original finance plan.” Fitch adds, “Greenfield toll roads globally have historically struggled to meet projections. Importantly, recent experience for traditional toll roads has been a departure from these long-term trends with North Carolina Turnpike (Triangle Expressway), Central Texas Turnpike System, and the Grand Parkway at or close to original projections. . . . It is too early to call this a meaningful shift in the standards and quality of forecasts as there are projects like SH130 . . . that have severely underperformed; however, it does indicate that greater conservatism is being incorporated to address opening year and facility ramp up risks.”