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EPA Announces $20 Million Water Infrastructure Loan to the City of Tacoma, Washington

Nationally, 30 WIFIA loans are helping finance more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects

09/30/2020
Contact Information: 
Mark MacIntyre (macintyre.mark@epa.gov)
206-553-7302

SEATTLE – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $20 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Tacoma, Washington to help finance the modernization of electrical distribution systems at the city’s primary wastewater treatment plant. This project will help protect the Puget Sound from unnecessary wastewater discharges by improving the reliability of Tacoma’s Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, which treats over 7 billion gallons of wastewater annually.

“We’re proud to help Tacoma make this investment in the future,” said Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle. “Without adequate wastewater treatment capacity, no municipality can hope to meet the needs of growing communities and a thriving business and industrial base. These loans are crucially important to local projects that deliver good paying jobs, build stronger economies and protect the environment.”

The City of Tacoma’s Electrical Distribution System Replacement Project will repair, replace, and rehabilitate the entire 40-year old electrical distribution system at the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (CTP). Modernizing the plant’s primary electrical power will improve reliability, support worker safety, and protect water quality in Commencement Bay and the greater Puget Sound. The project will take two years to complete.

“The funds from the WIFIA loan will be used to upgrade an important city facility,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “The city is grateful to the Environmental Protection Agency and the WIFIA staff for their support to modernize the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. Through this effort, our plant will remain state of the art, which allows it to protect the waters of Commencement Bay and the Puget Sound for decades to come.”

“The City of Tacoma is fortunate to receive financial assistance from the EPA for the CTP Electrical Distribution System Replacement project,” said City of Tacoma Environmental Services Director Mike Slevin. “The WIFIA funding is a major milestone that allows the project to proceed ahead of schedule. By proactively replacing aging high voltage power systems before failure, the project will help the city continue protecting the Puget Sound and its natural beauty for decades to come.”

“Since the first WIFIA loan closed in April 2018, the program has become increasingly efficient and has established itself as a valuable tool to help finance needed water infrastructure improvements across the country,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. “EPA’s 30 WIFIA loans are providing $6.1 billion in credit assistance to help finance $13 billion for water infrastructure while creating more than 27,000 jobs and saving ratepayers $2.7 billion.”

WIFIA is providing financial support at a critical time as the federal government, EPA and the water sector work together to help mitigate the public health and financial impacts of COVID-19. This project will cost $40.8 million, and EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure. The remaining project funds will come from a combination of a Washington Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan and borrower cash. The WIFIA loan will save the City of Tacoma an estimated $1.3 million compared to typical market financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create 130 jobs. Since the beginning of March 2020, WIFIA has announced fourteen loans and updated four existing loans with lower interest rates. These recent efforts by EPA’s WIFIA program will save ratepayers over $1 billion compared to typical market financing.

Background on WIFIA

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. WIFIA’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs.

EPA is currently accepting Letters of Interest for FY 2020. Approximately $5 billion in financing is available. For more information about the FY 2020 selection process, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-funding-currently-available.

For more information about the WIFIA program’s accomplishments through 2019, visit: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-first-wifia-annual-report-highlighting-35-billion-infrastructure-funding.

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

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