News | August 16, 2018

EPA Receives Record Number Of Letters Of Interest For WIFIA Water Infrastructure Loans

The agency received more than $9.1B in collective loan requests for 2018 Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program funding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received 62 letters of interest (LOIs) collectively requesting $9.1B in loans from a wide range of prospective borrowers in response to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program’s 2018 Notice of Funding Availability.

“The more than $9B in WIFIA loans requested is nearly double our lending capacity for 2018, demonstrating the critical need for investment in our nation’s water infrastructure and strong support for EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program,” said EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator David Ross. “EPA looks forward to reviewing the letters of interest we received as we advance the President’s infrastructure agenda and help communities better protect public health and water quality.”

EPA received LOIs from prospective borrowers located in 24 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam for a wide variety of projects, including wastewater, drinking water, water recycling, desalination, stormwater management, and combined approaches. More than half of the LOIs addressed one or both of EPA’s 2018 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) priorities: reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems and updating aging infrastructure. While the majority of prospective borrowers are municipal government agencies, other prospective borrowers include small communities, public-private partnerships, corporations, and a tribe. See the full list of letters of interest submitted.

In April 2018, EPA announced the availability of additional WIFIA funding that could provide as much as $5.5B in loans. Leveraging private capital and other funding sources, these projects could support $11B in water infrastructure investment and create up to 170,000 jobs. Prospective borrowers responding to the 2018 NOFA were required to submit a letter of interest by July 31, 2018. EPA is currently evaluating the submitted letters of interest for project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility, and alignment with WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria. Through this competitive process, EPA selects projects it intends to finance and invites them to submit a formal application this fall.

Background
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 the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects.

EPA is currently processing applications from the 2017 WIFIA NOFA. To date, EPA has issued over $1B in WIFIA credit assistance through loans toKing County (Washington), the City of Omaha (Nebraska), the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (California), and the Orange County Water District (California).

According to EPA's estimate of national drinking water and wastewater needs, over $743B is needed for water infrastructure improvements. EPA’s WIFIA program plays an important part in fulfilling this need and in the President’s Infrastructure Plan, which calls for expanding project eligibility.

To learn more the 2018 WIFIA NOFA letters of interest submitted, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-letters-interest.

For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.

SOURCE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)