THE Parkways Authority, which oversees the West Virginia Turnpike, received some good news last week.
Moody's Investors Service affirmed its strong ratings on the Turnpike's toll bonds, maintaining the Aa3 rating, which is Moody's highest rating for road bonds.
"The Aa3 rating reflects the essentiality of the toll road, the authority's strong debt service coverage ratios and low debt levels, and that no new additional debt is allowed under the current indenture," the Moody's analysis said.
This is a far cry from four years ago when a recession-led drop in traffic threatened to place the Turnpike in default for the second time.
In the 1950s, before the interstate system was completed, the Turnpike was a road to nowhere without much traffic or revenues, which meant it missed a bond payment, which meant it was in default.
In the spring of 2009, the Parkways Authority, which oversees operation of the Turnpike, raised tolls by 60 percent because of fears of default.
This was the first toll hike in 28 years.
In so doing, board members put their responsibilities ahead of public opinion, which had shot down the idea three years earlier.