EPA reviews candidate Water Infrastructure Finance projects

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program has received ‘letters of interest’ from prospective borrowers in communities across 19 states, each seeking to partner with the agency to invest in local water supply or wastewater treatment and conveyance projects.

“The infrastructure needs of our nation and communities are broader than just roads and bridges,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Improvements are needed to address drinking and wastewater infrastructure, and EPA’s WIFIA program offers opportunities to provide credit assistance to spur innovative investments.”

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the federal loan and guarantee program aims to accelerate investment by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. WIFIA’s $25 million in fiscal 2017 funding supports $1.5 billion in loans and up to $3 billion in projects to repair, rehabilitate, and replace aging water treatment plants and pipe systems, and construct new desalination, water recycling, and drought mitigation works. Combined with programs such as EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans, private equity, revenue, and municipal bonds, WIFIA loans could address over $12 billion in infrastructure needs across the country.

EPA received over 40 letters of interest from cities, counties, towns, and businesses in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin. The agency is currently evaluating project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility, and alignment with WIFIA criteria. Through a competitive process, EPA will select projects it intends to fund and invite their proponents to continue to the application process this summer. — www.epa.gov/wifia