News Releases from Region 05
EPA Advances President Trump's Infrastructure Agenda in Region 5 Through Accelerated Investments in America's Water Infrastructure
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin receive over $2 billion in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans
Chicago (February 7, 2019) - As highlighted in President Trump's State of the Union address and in support of the President's Infrastructure Initiative [https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/building-stronger-america-president-donald-j-trumps-american-infrastructure-initiative], the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accelerated investment in the nation's aging water infrastructure.
"EPA is delivering on President Trump's promise to jump-start critical infrastructure projects that will not only enhance environmental protections but also grow the economy," said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "Under President Trump, EPA has issued seven WIFIA loans to help finance over $4 billion in water infrastructure projects that will improve water quality and create up to 6,000 jobs. By clearly defining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends, our new proposed Waters of the U.S. definition will provide states and the private sector the regulatory certainty they need to develop and streamline projects that will modernize our nation's aging infrastructure."
Over the past year, EPA has moved President Trump's infrastructure agenda forward by working to get the financing, tools and resources EPA's state, local, tribal and other partners need to modernize outdated water infrastructure while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health.
"This funding allows communities to improve water infrastructure in areas where upgrades are most needed," said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. "Thanks to the WIFIA and SRF loan programs, communities can make critical repairs to wastewater treatment and drinking water systems, ensuring clean and safe drinking water for their residents."
One major accomplishment of local significance is the use of Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) in several states, which play an integral role in EPA's efforts to help communities replace or upgrade aging or inadequate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through low-interest loans. Together, in 2018, the SRFs committed $9.6 billion in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and disbursed $8.8 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure. This level of funding was facilitated through EPA's contribution of $2.2 billion to the state revolving funds in 2018.
The SRF programs committed $2.4 billion in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and disbursed $2.2 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure in the Region 5 states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. This level of funding was facilitated through Region 5's contribution of almost $500 million to the SRFs in 2018.
In Indiana, the SRF established a new benchmark as it completed 41 new loans totaling over $500 million between July and December 2018. In addition to addressing vital infrastructure needs, these 41 loans will save Indiana utility customers more than $110 million dollars in interest costs over the life of their loans.
In Ohio, the SRF program awarded 273 loans in 2018 for almost $800 million. This included their largest ever drinking water SRF loan, totaling $45 million, which was awarded to the city of Toledo to directly address harmful algal blooms.
Together with the agency's state, local, tribal and other partners, EPA also achieved success in 2018 with the financing of large-scale water infrastructure projects.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014, EPA's WIFIA program is the agency's newest water financing program, which provides long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. In 2018, EPA issued seven WIFIA loans totaling nearly $2 billion to help finance over $4 billion for water infrastructure projects and create up to 6,000 jobs. In November 2018, EPA invited 39 additional projects in 16 states and Washington, D.C. to apply for a WIFIA loan. Together, these selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5 billion to help finance over $10 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 155,000 jobs.
EPA continues to work through the WIFIA application process with the Indiana Finance Authority to expand the reach of its SFR programs and fund dozens of additional projects in communities across the state. The city of Waukesha in Wisconsin was also invited to apply for a $116 million WIFIA loan to transition its water supply from a groundwater source with high radium levels to Lake Michigan water.
EPA has also taken a leading role in the administration's initiative to promote greater efficiencies in the infrastructure permitting process. These actions include working to provide a clear and predictable approach to identifying waters that are subject to federal authority through the Department of the Army's and EPA's proposed "Waters of the United States" rulemaking, implementation of the administration's One Federal Decision initiative [https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-executive-order-establishing-discipline-accountability-environmental-review-permitting-process-infrastructure] and through other improvements to the Clean Water Act permitting process. EPA will take these actions by cooperatively working with its state and tribal co-regulators with a goal of streamlining environmental permitting and increasing investments in critical water and other infrastructure projects.
For more information on the President's Infrastructure Initiative, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/building-stronger-america-president-donald-j-trumps-american-infrastructure-initiative
For more information about EPA's WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia
For more information on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, visit https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf
For more information on the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, visit https://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf