Moody’s Investors Services gave Louisiana a favorable Aa3 rating on $73.7 million in unclaimed property revenue bonds that will be used to continue work on completing Interstate 49 South, State Treasurer John Kennedy said in an issued statement Thursday.
“This is a victory for the citizens of Louisiana,” Kennedy said. “Moody’s could have downgraded us, but they didn’t. They have left us on negative credit watch, and Moody’s is giving new leadership time to fix our problems.”
Louisiana will go to market in a few weeks to sell unclaimed property bonds that will finance portions of I-49 South. Treasurer Kennedy developed the funding mechanism that allows Louisiana to pursue the infrastructure project, a top priority for One Acadiana. Excess annual collections from the unclaimed property program pay the debt service on the bonds without anyone losing their unclaimed property money.
The upcoming bond sale will be used to match federal funds to finance U.S. 90 from Albertson Parkway to just north of Ambassador Caffery and the U.S. 90/LA 318 interchange project. The projects are part of a multi-year effort to convert 160 miles of the current U.S. 90 corridor from Lafayette to New Orleans into Interstate 49.
“There is no denying that Louisiana has serious budget issues. Moody’s noticed that we’re budgeting too much nonrecurring money and not doing anything about our runaway pension liability,” Kennedy said. “We asked Moody’s not to downgrade us and to give the next governor and Legislature time to fix the problems. I’m thankful that Moody’s listened.”