Two Rhode Island Groups Invited to Apply for Water Infrastructure Loans to Improve Water Quality and Create Jobs
PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting a total of 38 projects in 18 states to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. Together, the selected borrowers will apply for WIFIA loans totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments and create almost 200,000 jobs. Two of the projects are in Pawtucket and Providence, Rhode Island.
"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 Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "This announcement highlights billions of dollars in needed water infrastructure investments to upgrade aging infrastructure, reduce exposure to lead and emerging contaminants and improve the lives of millions of Americans across the country – all while creating almost 200,000 jobs."
EPA's WIFIA loans will allow communities across the country to implement projects to address national water priorities – including providing for clean and safe drinking water by reducing exposure to lead and emerging contaminants, addressing aging water infrastructure and developing water recycling and reuse projects. Specifically, eight of the selected projects are water reuse or recycling projects, 11 projects will reduce lead or emerging drinking water contaminants, and 33 will address aging infrastructure. EPA received 51 letters of interest from both public and private entities in response to the 2019 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/04/05/2019-06731/notice-of-funding-availability-nofa-for-applications-for-credit-assistance-under-the-water). After a robust, statutorily required review process, the WIFIA Selection Committee chose the Narragansett Bay Commission and Bristol County Water Authority to pursue loans for proposed projects.
The Narragansett Bay Commission, located in Providence, has been invited to pursue a loan of up to $17 million for Bucklin Point Resiliency Improvements. The Bucklin Point Resiliency Improvements project will address various needs to ensure that the wastewater treatment facility can treat flows that would have previously overflowed and operate efficiently, especially during periods of elevated wet weather flows. The wastewater project could benefit a local population of 161,000 people.
The Bristol County Water Authority, located in Pawtucket, has been invited to pursue a loan of $26 million for the Pawtucket Pipeline. This project will construct a new water supply pipeline from the Pawtucket Water Supply Board in Pawtucket, RI, to provide the Bristol County Water Authority with an alternate water supply, benefiting a local population of 50,000 people.
"EPA is pleased that these two Rhode Island organizations are pursuing WIFIA financing for important water infrastructure projects," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Making wise and cost-effective investments now will mean cleaner water resources and healthier communities for many years to come."
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 and low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. EPA's WIFIA program plays an important part in President Trump's infrastructure plan, which calls for expanding project eligibility. 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.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.
To learn more about the 38 projects that are invited to apply, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects.