What is WIFIA?
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.
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 percent: Maximum portion of eligible project costs that WIFIA can fund.
- Total federal assistance may not exceed 80 percent 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.