as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 50th anniversary celebration, the agency released its first-ever Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program annual report. Through 2019, the WIFIA program has financed more than $3.5 billion in loans, which has saved borrowers $1.2 billion dollars and has helped improve water quality for more than 20 million Americans.
“The WIFIA program’s success is a key component of President Trump’s efforts to modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure, strengthen public health protections, and create jobs,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I have seen first-hand the impact this program has had on local communities in just a short amount of time. The WIFIA program has proven to be a tremendous tool in achieving environmental protections and fostering economic growth in communities across the country.”
Established by Congress in 2014, the WIFIA program is an EPA federal loan and guarantee program focused on helping meet the growing water infrastructure needs in communities across the country. The program provides long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance to creditworthy drinking water and wastewater projects of national and regional significance.
WIFIA loans can finance a wide range of drinking water and wastewater projects, including traditional drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and conveyance systems, water recycling and desalination plants, drought prevention and mitigation projects, stormwater management, green infrastructure, non-point source pollution control and source-water protection. Eligible WIFIA borrowers include local, state, tribal, and federal government entities; partnerships and joint ventures; corporations and trusts; and State Revolving Fund programs.
Through 2019, the WIFIA program has closed 14 loans ranging in size from $20.7 million to $699 million. Together, WIFIA has provided $3.5 billion in loans to help finance more than $8 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating more than 15,000 jobs. Of those projects, 57 percent directly support Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act compliance.
In 2019, EPA invited 38 new projects to apply for WIFIA loans, totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments. These projects will help support key agency priorities, including reducing lead and emergent contaminants and developing water reuse and recycling capacity. Together, the selected projects will improve water quality for 24 million people in 18 states.