Moody’s Investors Services lowered the credit rating of SH130 Concession Company, which built and oversees the final two segments of the tolled State Highway 130 that run 41 miles from I-10 east of Seguin to Mustang Ridge, where it connects to the state built toll sections of 130 and State Highway 45.
Moody’s based the downgrade on traffic counts that were about half of what SH130 Concession Co. estimated for the first two years.
The lower traffic counts indicate the company, which is a partnership between Cintra TX 56, LLC from Spain and Zachary Toll Road 56, LP may exhaust all reserve funds to make loan payments by the end of 2014. The company has $1.1 billion in debt including $451 million on a government loan.
"I think we’re looking at it very positively,” said SH130 CC spokesperson Megan Compton. “We knew it was coming and we’re moving forward because we’re committed to the project.”
Compton said the company remains confident that the project was a good idea and some drivers agree.
“It’s perfect,” said Dave Conrey, a truck driver for Alexander Oil based just a couple of miles from the toll’s southern entrance. “We jump on it real quick and we’ll be in Austin in 40 minutes.”
Toll fees for trucks have been reduced for the entire segment in an attempt to increase traffic.
Trucks now pay the same rates as passenger cars.
Payments on the government loan are not scheduled to begin until 2017.