EPA announces another $6.5 billion in WIFIA funding

Last week at an address to water associations, utilities and their workers as part of Water Week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the 2021 notice of funding availability under the agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and state infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program.

These lending programs accelerate investment in critical water infrastructure through innovative and flexible financing that can support a wide range of projects in both large and small communities.

“EPA’s $6.5 billion in water infrastructure funding will provide more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs,” said Regan. “[This] announcement illustrates the multiple benefits of investing in water infrastructure — better public health and environmental protection, job creation, and economic development. These benefits would be taken to new heights under President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.”

Data Visualization for WIFIA Loan Benefits

EPA’s WIFIA loan program has become an effective tool to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. To date, EPA’s 49 WIFIA loans are providing more than $9.3 billion in credit assistance to help finance nearly $20 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 49,000 jobs and saving ratepayers more than $4 billion. This round of WIFIA funding will provide up to $5.5 billion to support $11 billion in water infrastructure projects and prioritizes five areas:

  • Supporting economically stressed communities;
  • Protecting water infrastructure against the impacts of climate change;
  • Reducing exposure to lead and addressing emerging contaminants;
  • Updating aging infrastructure; and
  • Implementing new or innovative approaches including cybersecurity and green infrastructure.

EPA is also announcing funding under SWIFIA. This program, which was authorized by Congress as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, offers low-interest loans to state water infrastructure programs that then help finance needed water infrastructure projects in local communities. This round of funding will provide SWIFIA borrowers up to $1 billion to support $2 billion in water infrastructure projects.

Can Innovative WIFIA Features Help Expand SRF Loan Capacity?

EPA will evaluate proposed projects described in the letters of interest using WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria as described in the notice of funding availability. Through this competitive process, EPA will select projects that it intends to fund and invite them to apply. EPA will accept letters of interest from prospective WIFIA borrowers until July 23, 2021. EPA will accept letters of interest from state water infrastructure programs until June 25, 2021.

For more information about WIFIA and this funding announcement, visit: epa.gov/wifia.

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a 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 loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. The 2021 notice of funding availability builds upon the existing active pipeline of WIFIA projects, which includes 76 projects in 25 states.

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