[Editor: This is the text of a July 18, 2016, news release from Fitch Ratings.]
Fitch: U.S. Transportation Remains Stable, But Not Without Obstacles
The U.S. transportation sector looks healthy for the remainder of 2016 and into next year, though not without some rising uncertainties tied to the broader economy, according to Fitch Ratings in its midyear outlook report for U.S. transportation.
Improving financial conditions among the major U.S. airlines bode well for airport passenger traffic, with growth already tracking between 4%-5% and being led by domestic traffic. ‘Large hub airports will continue to be the strongest performers, though capital programs and associated borrowings could curb credit improvement for other airports,’ said Senior Director Seth Lehman.
Ports should continue to see modest growth for the remainder of the year. Shifting alliances are leading to shippers sending fewer, larger ships to focus gateways so channel deepening and inland infrastructure improvements are in the works to address congestion. One major focus for Fitch remains the opening of the expanded Panama Canal.
Toll roads on the whole saw strong growth through the first six months of 2016 thanks to a mild winter and low fuel prices, with the trend likely to continue as the year wears on. Managed lanes are likely to dominate greenfield development. However, federal funding uncertainty and heavy opposition to state tolling will continue to weigh on toll roads.
More states throughout the country appear to be embracing public-private partnerships (P3s) for their financing needs. The need for state-level approvals, however, will curb P3 growth disproportionately to demand. ‘Most infrastructure needs are likely to be financed via the traditional model at the state and local level for the foreseeable future,’ said Lehman.
Seth Lehman, Senior Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc., 33 Whitehall Street, New York, NY, 10004
Sandro Scenga, New York
Additional information is available at ‘www.fitchratings.com‘.