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Finance & Budgets: Halifax, Long Beach

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Standard & Poor’s has issued a release affirming the Halifax Port Authority’s credit rating at "A" and revising the outlook on Halifax Port Authority to positive from stable. The Long Beach City Council approved the Port of Long Beach’s $1.02 billion budget for fiscal year 2014, with funding included for upgrades of its terminals, roads and a key bridge.

Standard & Poor’s Improves Outlook for Halifax

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its outlook on Halifax Port Authority (HPA) to positive from stable. At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its "A" long-term issuer credit rating on the HPA.

The outlook revision reflects what we view as sustained healthy operating and financial performance, with forecast annual debt service of more than 5x, despite debt issuance, in the next two years.

In part, the rating reflects the authority's strategic location on the east coast of North America, strong catchment area and robust financial performance.

The HPA's strategic location on the east coast of North America, with its natural deep harbor and supporting infrastructure, gives it a competitive advantage as a first-in and last-out port for Southeast Asian container traffic traveling through the Suez Canal. 

Long Beach Approves Budget

The Long Beach City Council approved the Port of Long Beach’s $1.02 billion budget for fiscal year 2014, with funding included for upgrades of its terminals, roads and a key bridge.

The port has launched a $4 billion-plus capital improvement program this decade. The port’s annual budget, approved unanimously by the City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 3, includes a record $788 million in capital project construction in the fiscal year 2014 alone. The fiscal year starts Oct. 1, 2013.

That capital improvement budget is 6 percent more than the current fiscal year and reflects the ongoing investment in major projects. Currently under construction are the $1.23 billion Middle Harbor Terminal project, the $1.1 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement and the $84 million Green Port Gateway rail project adding environmentally friendly on-dock rail capacity to the port.

In addition, the 2014 budget sets aside $73 million for environmental programs to improve air and water quality, as well as to protect wildlife habitat. The budget also includes a record $18.4 million transfer to the city’s Tidelands Fund for use by the city on shore area-related expenses. The transfer is 5 percent of estimated operating revenue for fiscal year 2013.

The port’s operating budget is funded by revenues derived from the port’s leases, fees and other charges on the shipping and goods movement companies that utilize the port.

"We are doing all we can to create jobs, invest in infrastructure and partner with the City of Long Beach to keep our economy moving," said Thomas Fields, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. "We are very proud to be creating thousands of living-wage jobs each year, and we’re working hard to do more."
 

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