The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is inviting the Baltimore City Department of Public Works to apply for a $200 million federal loan to improve its water infrastructure. Baltimore City is one of 12 projects in nine states invited to apply for more than $2 billion in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. These projects were selected from a group of 43 projects that submitted letters of interest to EPA in April 2017.
When awarded, the funds will be used to help Baltimore City complete a set of projects to repair, rehabilitate, replace, and upgrade its wastewater collection and treatment, water treatment and distribution, and stormwater management systems. These projects would improve the sanitary sewer collection; ensure the reliability and performance of the pumping stations and Maryland’s two largest wastewater treatment plants; improve the drinking water distribution system to address reliability and performance, which provides direct public health benefits; and meet Clean Water Act permit requirements and obligations through stormwater improvements.
“Rebuilding America’s infrastructure is a critical pillar of the President’s agenda,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These large-scale projects will improve water quality for 20 million Americans, especially those communities that need it the most – such as rural and urban communities.”
“Maryland appreciates EPA’s support for clean and affordable water infrastructure in Baltimore,” said Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles. “Innovative financing and strong partnerships will help us in our continued efforts to restore and protect our most precious natural asset, the Chesapeake Bay.”
“On behalf of Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, I’m delighted and honored to be invited to apply for this federal funding,” said Baltimore Department of Public Works Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. “Our application covers important construction projects in Baltimore’s water, sewer, and stormwater utilities, and helps us carry out our mission to support the health, environment, and economy of our City and the region. Just as importantly, this funding assistance helps alleviate the burden placed on our local ratepayers.”
This year’s projects will also leverage more than $1 billion in private investment, in addition to other funding sources including EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans to help finance a total of $5.1 billion in water infrastructure investments. The selected projects demonstrate the broad range of project types that the WIFIA program can finance including wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, and water recycling projects.
An invitation to apply indicates that EPA believes the selected projects will be able to attain WIFIA loans. However, the selected projects are not guaranteed loans. Selected projects must still submit an application for a WIFIA loan, pass a creditworthiness assessment, negotiate mutually-agreeable terms, and execute a credit agreement to receive WIFIA funding.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a new federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in our nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. For more information on all the WIFIA projects, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-fy-2017-selected-projects-summary-factsheets . For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia .