The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced the release of Climate Bonds Certified green bonds as part of the agency’s commitment to delivering sustainable, cost-effective transportation service to the Washington Metropolitan Region. The green certification confirms that WMATA’s planned capital investments support climate change solutions, including within the categories of clean energy and energy efficiency.
Issuing Climate Bonds will help WMATA attract more environmentally conscious buyers to increase investor demand and result in a better, more competitive rate for the transit agency.
The projected $874 million bond offer, approved by WMATA’s board last week, will fund capital projects in support of the agency’s Energy Action Plan to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiencies.
“As we build for the future, we recognize Metro’s leadership role to address the region’s climate challenges through sustainable transportation and solutions,” said WMATA GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Issuing these bonds demonstrates our commitment to support the region’s sustainability goals and helps expand zero- and low-emission public transportation options in the Washington Metropolitan region.”
Over the next six years, WMATA will make extensive capital investments in its fleet, traction power, and infrastructure that will shape the region’s sustainability efforts. The Climate Bonds are based on the environmentally sustainable elements of the Capital Improvement Program and will finance green infrastructure and climate resiliency projects including:
- Traction power upgrades to support additional eight-car trains
- Fare collection modernization
- Zero-emission bus system upgrades
- Bus facility upgrades including Bladensburg and Northern which are expected to meet LEED green building standards
The bond offering, verified by Kestrel Verifiers against the Climate Bonds Standard ensures the proceeds are used exclusively to fund projects with material environmental benefits. Climate Bonds are bonds, which have been verified against rigorous criteria to confirm consistency with the two-degree Celsius warming limit established by the Paris Climate Agreement.
Issuing these bonds aligns with WMATA’s commitment to sustainability. As outlined in its most recent sustainability report, WMATA has made an impact on regional sustainability in three primary areas: Livability & Accessibility, Economic Prosperity, and Environmental Impact.
The Climate Bonds will help advance sustainable investments that protect the environment, improve the quality of life of residents and visitors to our region, and help facilitate a transition to a low-carbon economy.
Between 2018 and 2020 the amount of debt issued in the Green Bond market in the U.S. increased by a multiple of six times to $46.9 Billion. WMATA’s Series 2021A Bonds, projected at $874 million, represents the fourth largest issuance of Green Bonds since 2020 in the municipal market.