In response to EPA’s third Notice of Funding Availability, the agency received 51 letters of interest, collectively requesting $6.6 billion in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) funding, exceeding the $6 billion the agency is offering in its third round of funding. The agency received letters from prospective borrowers located in 21 states, including six states for which no borrower had previously sought WIFIA loans. This brings the total number of states where WIFIA loans have been requested to 35, plus the District of Columbia and Guam.
For the first time, EPA announced water reuse and recycling as a WIFIA priority for 2019, and several prospective borrowers submitted letters of interest to implement such projects. The funding requests also cover a wide variety of other projects, including drinking water, wastewater, desalination, stormwater management, and combined approaches. The majority of prospective borrowers are municipal government agencies, while other prospective borrowers include small communities, public-private partnerships, and corporations.
As the next step in this competitive process, EPA will evaluate the letters for project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility, and alignment with WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria. The agency will then identify projects it intends to finance and invite those selected entities to submit formal applications this fall.
“Since the WIFIA program’s inception in 2017, EPA has received requests totaling $21.7 billion for water infrastructure projects across the country – evidence of the urgent need to modernize our nation’s infrastructure,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. He added the WIFIA program allowed EPA to play a critical role to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure “in a manner that improves public health and environmental protections while creating good, local jobs. In 2019 alone, WIFIA could support the creation of up to 180,000 jobs and improve water quality for millions of Americans.”
To date EPA has issued nine loans totaling more $2 billion in WIFIA credit assistance to help finance over $5 billion for water infrastructure projects and create more than 6,000 jobs.