EPA Increases Budget Request for FY 2017, Targets WIFIA Implementation

In February, the Obama Administration announced its Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which lays out a strategy to ensure that steady progress is made in addressing known environmental problems and ensuring the agency and its partners in environmental protection, states and tribes are positioned to meet the challenges of the future. EPA’s FY 2017 budget request of $8.267 billion provides resources vital to that overarching vision. The request is $127 million above the agency’s enacted level for FY 2016.

In FY 2017, the agency says it will continue to build on its efforts to ensure waterways are clean and drinking water is safe. Building on the strong funding level of $2 billion provided through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, $42 million is included for loan financing, technical assistance, training and other efforts to enhance the capacity of communities and states to plan and finance drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. Since their inception, the SRFs have been funded at more than $62 billion, with more than $22 billion of that investment occurring since 2009. It is estimated that between 13,000 and 24,000 jobs result from every billion dollars in SRF funding.

According to the budget request, EPA says it will continue the complex work necessary to implement the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), by beginning to finance projects for large, innovative drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects of regional or national significance. WIFIA funding of $20 million is requested to begin making these loans, including covering administrative costs. In addition to making loans available for large projects, the WIFIA program will also work to support investments in small communities and promote public-private collaboration. The $15 million increase in the budget is the beginning of funding for WIFIA projects and the program is designed to leverage these funds.

The Budget also provides $7.1 million for the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center to continue helping communities across the country focus on financial planning for future public infrastructure investments, expanding work with states to identify financing opportunities for rural communities, and enhancing partnership and collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on training, technical assistance and funding opportunities in rural areas. The center is part of the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth by creating opportunities for state and local governments and the private sector to collaborate on infrastructure development.

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