Investors "Not Interested" In Taking On More Debt
Plans to build a new terminal at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson
International Airport may soon fall victim to the current economic
crisis, despite the airport's top-notch credit rating.
The Associated Press reports the $1.6 billion project to build a
new international terminal faces suspension within a few months,
due to the inability to sell $600 million in municipal bonds
to fund the initial stages of the program.
The problem isn't due to lack of interest, or the financial
state of the airport; in fact, ATL enjoys an investment-friendly A+
debt rating, according to the airport's general manager, Ben
"Investors are not interested in our debt," he said.
Construction on the new Maynard H. Jackson International
Terminal has already started, with over $300 million already spent.
The terminal was part of a broader expansion plan that included a
fifth runway at ATL, which was completed in 2006.
"I'm going to have to suspend the work in a matter of months"
unless funding is obtained, DeCosta added. "I like to gamble, but I
don't know how to gamble this game... You just don't know."
ATL officials hope federal assistance may become available
through a program to benefit municipal governments. DeCosta says
that may be the last option to keep the terminal project going.
"I'm frozen out of the markets," DeCosta said. "I can't go to
market for long-term bond financing." About 300 people are now
working on the new terminal. Those jobs would disappear if the
funding doesn't come through.
If things get much worse, DeCosta added, other improvement
programs such as expanded roadways and baggage systems will also
need to be shelved until things turn around.
"I have money already out there with people working and if it
doesn't look like we can go to market, I would have to determine
which parts of the project could continue and which can't," he