Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff
An EPA Notice of Funding Availability invites letters of interest from states and municipalities seeking credit assistance under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), whose funding doubled from the prior year as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. Leveraging private capital and other funding sources, the agency notes, WIFIA-backed projects could support $11 billion in water infrastructure investment and create 170,000-plus jobs.
“This funding will spark new investments to repair our nation’s crumbling water infrastructure,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will play a key role in the President’s infrastructure efforts by incentivizing states, municipalities, and public-private partnerships to protect public health, fix problems, create jobs, and provide clean water to communities.”
“An investment in water infrastructure is an investment in our communities,” adds EPA Office of Wastewater Management Director Dr. Andrew Sawyers. “The WIFIA program helps improve water quality and protect public health while supporting the local economy.”
Established in 2014 legislation, the EPA-directed federal loan and guarantee program aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. WIFIA credit assistance can be used for drinking water treatment and distribution; wastewater conveyance and treatment; energy efficiency upgrades at drinking water or wastewater facilities; desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, and water recycling; plus, drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation.
EPA will evaluate proposed work described in letters of interest submitted by July 6; agencies behind target projects will then be invited to continue the application process. In the inaugural WIFIA funding round last year, EPA pegged 12 projects in nine states for which states and municipalities could seek more than $2 billion in loans.