EPA chief cites prospects for $6B in water infrastructure loans

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

EPA has announced a new round of funding to spur an estimated $6 billion in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) credit assistance in 2019. Combined with other sources, he notes, “This could support $12 billion in water infrastructure projects and create more than 180,000 jobs. We are prioritizing construction-ready projects in water reuse and recycling, reducing exposure to lead and addressing emerging contaminants, and updating aging infrastructure,” notes EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

The WIFIA program plays an important role in President Donald Trump’s efforts to rebuild America’s aging infrastructure while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health, he adds. WIFIA loans are available to public and private borrowers for a wide range of drinking water, wastewater, drought mitigation, and alternative supply projects. This year’s Notice of Funding Availability highlights the agency’s priority to finance projects that are ready for construction in the three key areas. The WIFIA program received $68 million in funding—a $5 million bump from the prior year—in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, which President Trump signed in February. 

EPA will accept letters of interest from prospective borrowers for 90 days after Notice of Funding Availability publication in the Federal Register. To date EPA has issued eight loans totaling over $2 billion in WIFIA credit assistance to help finance over $4 billion for water infrastructure projects and create 6,000-plus jobs. The agency has invited stakeholders behind an additional 42 projects in 17 states and D.C. to apply for a WIFIA loan. These 38 borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5.5 billion to help finance nearly $11 billion in water infrastructure investments and create 172,000 jobs.

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 established WIFIA as a federal loan and guarantee program through which EPA 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 a wide range of projects, among them: wastewater conveyance and treatment; energy efficiency upgrades at drinking water and wastewater facilities; drinking water treatment and distribution; and, water recycling. EPA will select projects that it intends to fund and invite parties to continue the application process. — www.epa.gov/wifia


Related article

EPA Water Infrastructure loan inquiries swell