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Learn About the WIFIA Program

The WIFIA program's mission is to:

Accelerate investment in our nation's water and wastewater infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance under customized terms to creditworthy water and wastewater projects of national and regional significance.

WIFIA works separately from, but in coordination with, the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs to provide subsidized financing for large dollar-value projects.

Program Overview

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA) established the WIFIA program, a federal credit program administered by EPA for eligible water and wastewater infrastructure projects. WIFIA and the WIFIA implementation rule outline the eligibility and other requirements for prospective borrowers.

Eligibility

Eligible borrowers are:

  • Local, state, tribal, and federal government entities
  • Partnerships and joint ventures
  • Corporations and trusts
  • Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs

The WIFIA program can fund development and implementation activities for eligible projects:

  • Projects that are eligible for the Clean Water SRF, notwithstanding the public ownership clause
  • Projects that are eligible for the Drinking Water SRF
  • Enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities
  • Brackish or seawater desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, and water recycling projects
  • Drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects
  • Acquisition of property if it is integral to the project or will mitigate the environmental impact of a project
  • A combination of projects secured by a common security pledge or submitted under one application by an SRF program

Eligible development and implementation activities are:

  • Development phase activities, including planning, preliminary engineering, design, environmental review, revenue forecasting, and other pre-construction activities
  • Construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and replacement activities
  • Acquisition of real property or an interest in real property, environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, and acquisition of equipment
  • Capitalized interest necessary to meet market requirements, reasonably required reserve funds, capital issuance expenses and other carrying costs during construction

Important Program Features

  • $20 million: Minimum project size for large communities.
  • $5 million: Minimum project size for small communities (population of 25,000 or less).
  • 49%: Maximum portion of eligible project costs that WIFIA can fund.
  • Total federal assistance may not exceed 80% of a project’s eligible costs.
  • 35 years: Maximum final maturity date from substantial completion.
  • 5 years: Maximum time that repayment may be deferred after substantial completion of the project.
  • Interest rate will be equal to or greater than the U.S. Treasury rate of a similar maturity at the date of closing.
  • Projects must be creditworthy and have a dedicated source of revenue.
  • NEPA, Davis-Bacon, American Iron and Steel, and all other federal cross-cutter provisions apply.

View a one-page summary of the WIFIA program.

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Program Benefits

The WIFIA program offers loans with low, fixed interest rates and flexible financial terms. Borrowers and their customers benefit from significant cost saving.

  • A single fixed interest rate is established at closing. A borrower may receive multiple disbursements over several years at the same fixed interest rate.
  • Interest rate is equal to the US Treasury rate of a similar maturity. The WIFIA program sets its interest rate based on the U.S. Treasury rate on the date of loan closing.  The rate is calculated using the weighted average (WAL) life of the loan rather than the loan maturity date.  The WAL is generally shorter than the loan’s actual length resulting in a lower interest rate.
  • Interest rate is not impacted by the borrower’s credit or loan structure. All borrowers benefit from the AAA Treasury rate, regardless of whether they are rated AA or BBB. The WIFIA program does not charge a higher rate for flexible financial terms.
  • Customized repayment schedules. Borrowers can customize their repayments to match their anticipated revenues and expenses for the life of the loan. This flexibility provides borrowers with the time they may need to phase in rate increases to generate revenue to repay the loan.
  • Long repayment period. WIFIA loans may have a length of up to 35 years after substantial completion, allowing payment amounts to be smaller throughout the life of the loan.
  • Deferred payment. Payments may be deferred up to 5 years after the project’s substantial completion.
  • Subordination. Under certain circumstances, WIFIA may take a subordinate position in payment priority, increasing coverage ratios for senior bond holders.
  • WIFIA loans can be combined with various funding sources. WIFIA loans can be combined with private equity, revenue bonds, corporate debt, grants, and State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans.

View a one-page summary of the WIFIA program benefits.

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Law and Regulations

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) (PDF) (10 pp, 156 K, About PDFwas signed into law by the President on June 10, 2014, and authorized the WIFIA program to be managed by EPA Headquarters. WIFIA was amended by section 1445 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (FAST) (491 pp, 1.3 M, About PDFand section 5008 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 (WIIN) (277 pp, 812 K, About PDF).

The interim final WIFIA implementation rule, Credit Assistance for Water Infrastructure Projects, was signed by EPA on December 6, 2016,  and establishes the guidelines for the WIFIA program and the process by which EPA will administer credit assistance. The interim final Previously-Incurred Costs in the WIFIA Program was signed by EPA on June 18, 2018 and amends the WIFIA regulations to clarify the process and conditions for including costs incurred and the value of integral in-kind contributions made before loan closing in the calculation of total eligible costs. It also explains the process for being reimbursed for those eligible costs by WIFIA loan proceeds.

The final fee rule, Fees for Water Infrastructure Project Applications under WIFIA, was signed by EPA on June 19, 2017, and establishes the fees related to the provision of federal credit assistance under WIFIA.

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Frequent Questions

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