News Releases from Region 04
U.S. EPA invites Birmingham Water Works to Apply for a Total of $147 Million in Water Infrastructure Loans
BIRMINGHAM (Jan. 12, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting Birmingham Water Works located in Birmingham, Alabama to apply for a total of $147 million in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. Nationally, a total of 55 new projects in 20 states are being invited to apply for approximately $5.1 billion in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. In Region 4, nine projects from five states are being invited to apply. This funding will help finance over $12 billion in clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects to protect public health and improve water quality in communities across the United States.
EPA built one of the greatest financing tools for investing in America’s water infrastructure in history when it stood up to the WIFIA program 2018,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These 55 new projects will facilitate $12 billion in water infrastructure to help address some of the most pressing challenges faced by water systems across this country.”
“The WIFIA loan program is an important tool for communities to finance critical upgrades that modernize wastewater infrastructure,” said Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “EPA is proud to support efforts that will result in a cleaner environment, improved public health, new jobs and a stronger economy.”
Birmingham has been invited to apply for a WIFIA loan to fund its Water Infrastructure Renewal Program. The project will focus on four key areas: 1) Lake Purdy dam rehabilitation; 2) water main replacement; 3) distribution storage tank rehabilitation. The purpose of the projects is improving water resiliency, quality and supply dependability, particularly during a drought. This marks the first time that an entity from Alabama has been invited to apply for a loan.
Since the first WIFIA loan closed in 2018, EPA has announced 41 WIFIA loans that are providing $7.8 billion in credit assistance to help finance $16.8 billion for water infrastructure while creating more than 38,800 jobs and saving ratepayers $3.7 billion. EPA received 67 letters of interest from both public and private entities in response to the 2020 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). After a robust statutorily required review process, the WIFIA Selection Committee chose 55 prospective borrowers’ projects to submit applications for loans and placed three prospective borrowers on a waitlist.
To learn more about the 55 projects that are invited to apply, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects
The WIFIA program is expanding its geographic scope by inviting entities from Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, and West Virginia for the first time. Four prospective borrowers that submitted letters of interest in response to a previous WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability resubmitted them for 2020 and have been invited to proceed in the 2020 funding round. Seven borrowers who have already received a WIFIA loan or are in the process of closing a loan have been invited to apply for additional financing. This action complements EPA November 2020 announcement that California, Iowa, and Rhode Island were invited to apply for a total of $695 million in loans through EPA’s new state infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program.
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.