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WIFIA receives ‘letters of interest’ from 19 states for funding
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program received “letters of interest” from prospective borrowers in communities across 19 states. Organizations from across the country are seeking to partner with EPA to invest in their local economies and improve water infrastructure.
“The infrastructure needs of our nation and communities are broader than just roads and bridges,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Improvements are needed to address drinking and waste water infrastructure, and EPA’s WIFIA program offers opportunities to provide credit assistance to spur innovative investments that address water infrastructure needs.”
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a new federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in our nation’s water by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects.
WIFIA is funded at $25 million by Congress for fiscal year 2017. This will allow for $1.5 billion in loans, spurring $3 billion in projects to repair, rehabilitate, and replace aging water treatment plants and pipe systems, and construct new infrastructure for desalination, water recycling and drought mitigation. Combined with similar EPA programs, such as EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans, private equity, revenue, and municipal bonds, these projects could address more than $12 billion in infrastructure needs across the country.
EPA received more than 40 letters of interest from prospective borrowers interested in developing local projects from cities, counties, towns and private businesses in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. A map of these requests can be found here.
EPA is currently evaluating project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility, and alignment with WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria. Through this competitive process, EPA will select projects that it intends to fund and invite them to continue to the application process this summer.