The Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration got good news last week when Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Investors Service Inc. upgraded the ratings on the administration's revenue bonds.

Moody's raised its rating on the bonds to Aa from A1, while Fitch increased its rating to AA-minus from A-plus. Standard & Poor's Corp. already had affirmed its AA rating of the bonds.

The administration's revolving loan fund, paid for with state and federal grants and revenue bond proceeds, provides loans to localities for projects that improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

In announcing its upgrade, Moody's praised the administration's continued commitment to maintaining a loan portfolio comprised of high quality participants, strengthening overall credit quality."

Fitch said, "The administration's management of the program - through coordination of several state departments to handle all aspects from financing to construction - has proven successful."

In early May, the administration announced it would be lowering its interest rates on loans through Sept. 30.

Most localities will be eligible for loans carrying a 3.25% interest rate, while local governments with low median household incomes will be eligible for 2.25% loans.

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