Fitch sees US transportation sector stabilizing

AP News
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Posted: Dec 17, 2009 4:34 PM

Fitch Ratings expects the U.S. transportation sector to begin to stabilize next year, but warns there will be some bumps in terms of performance and credit quality.

The ratings agency said Thursday that airports are likely to experience the most pressure due to consistent high unemployment in the U.S. and travel demand far from pre-recession levels.

Most airports have responded to this stress through cost cutting measures, utilizing the balance sheet to ease the growth in airline use and lease payments and deferring capital spending, Fitch said.

Toll roads have thus far demonstrated the least effect from the recession, with seaports and airports demonstrating more volatility, Fitch said.

"This is reflective of the purpose of the asset type, with most toll roads having a revenue stream with less discretionary attributes than ports which are more dependent upon consumption, and airports which can have a fairly high percentage of revenue derived from leisure travel," the ratings agency said.