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New SWIFIA loan program will help states finance more water infrastructure projects

11/18/2020

WASHINGTON (November 18, 2020) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting three state agencies to apply for a total of $695 million in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans through EPA’s new state infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. This funding will help states finance infrastructure projects to improve water quality and protect public health in communities across the United States. For this round, California, Iowa, and Rhode Island are invited to apply for funding.

“The SWIFIA program will help finance over $3.2 billion in water infrastructure investments across the states of California, Iowa, and Rhode Island, while creating more than 2,000 jobs,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “It’s another example of the Trump Administration’s commitment to building clean water infrastructure across the country.”

EPA’s SWIFIA loans are available exclusively to state infrastructure financing authority borrowers, commonly known as State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, and will allow these programs to finance more infrastructure projects in their states. The first three selected SWIFIA borrowers are the California State Water Resources Control Board ($500 million), the Iowa Finance Authority ($156 million), and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank ($39.2 million). These programs will combine state resources, annual capitalization grants, and the SWIFIA loans to accelerate investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

“Today’s announcement will provide an opportunity not only for additional affordable financing capacity for the Iowa State Revolving Fund, but it will also help to support a high quality of life and exceptional business climate through critical long-term water quality investments,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham.

“The Iowa SRF is always interested in pursuing low-cost financing,” said Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon. “We know how important it is for our borrowers to keep their costs low to help keep water and sewer rates affordable.”

“We are excited that our proposal to access the long-term, low-cost funding available from the new SWIFIA program has been accepted by EPA,” said Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank CEO Jeffrey Diehl. “We look forward to working with the EPA team to lower the cost of financing critical water infrastructure projects that protect the health of Rhode Islanders, improve the environment and create jobs.”

Background

The SWIFIA program, authorized by Congress in section 4201 of America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, is a loan program within the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program that is exclusively for state infrastructure financing authority borrowers. On July 17, 2020, EPA announced the availability of SWIFIA loans and a deadline of September 15, 2020 to submit letters of interest. EPA received three letters of interest and is inviting all three candidates to apply for SWIFIA loans.

Prior to establishing the SWIFIA program, two state infrastructure financing authority borrowers were selected to receive WIFIA loans. In 2019, EPA closed a $436 million WIFIA loan with the Indiana Finance Authority. The New Jersey Infrastructure Financing Authority was also invited to apply for a $149 million WIFIA loan.

Under President Trump, EPA has closed 40 WIFIA loans that are providing $7.7 billion in credit assistance to help finance $16.6 billion for water infrastructure while creating more than 38,200 jobs and saving ratepayers $3.6 billion.

For more information about the SWIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia/what-swifia.

For more information on the DWSRF, visit https://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf.

For more information on the CWSRF, visit https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf.

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