Loans will help make critical investments in communities to improve water quality for 22 million Americans
BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting the Narragansett Bay Commission in Providence, R.I., to apply for a $251 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to make infrastructure improvements to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
"Through WIFIA, EPA is playing an integral role in President Trump’s efforts to improve and upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure and ensure all Americans have access to clean and safe water," said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "This year, EPA will help finance over $10 billion in water infrastructure investments that will create up to 155,000 jobs, upgrade aging infrastructure, reduce lead exposure, and improve the lives of millions of Americans across the country."
After a robust, statutorily required review process, Narragansett Bay Commission was selected as one of 39 projects nationwide, from a group of 62 prospective borrowers, representing large and small communities, who submitted letters of interest to EPA in response to the 2018 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Together, the selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling up to $5 billion to help finance over $10 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 155,000 jobs.
"This funding will continue the important work already under way to address sewer overflows, which means cleaner water and a more vibrant economy for communities across Narragansett Bay," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. "This loan embodies the administration's commitment to making sure New Englanders have clean water and that this utility has the resources needed to make that happen."
The WIFIA loan will further the Narragansett Bay Commission's work to design and construct a storage tunnel and associated infrastructure to provide a storage volume of 58.6 million gallons, which will help reduce CSOs.
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 credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. EPA's WIFIA loans will allow large and small communities across the country to implement projects to address two national water priorities – providing for clean and safe drinking water including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants and addressing aging water infrastructure.
To date, EPA has issued four loans totaling over $1 billion in WIFIA credit assistance. Combined, these four projects will create over 5,000 jobs.
According to EPA's estimate of national drinking water and wastewater needs, over $743 billion 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 about the 39 projects that are invited to apply and about EPA's WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects.