Nationally, 41 WIFIA loans are helping finance more than $16.8 billion in water infrastructure projects
WASHINGTON (December 21, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an $85 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of San Mateo, California, for a project that will reduce sewer overflows. Today’s announcement complements a separate WIFIA loan of $210 million announced in November 2020 for upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Together, these WIFIA-financed projects will improve water quality in the San Francisco Bay and will help protect public health and the environment through better wastewater management.
“Through WIFIA, EPA is modernizing the nation’s water infrastructure in ways that improve public health and environmental protection while creating jobs and supporting local economies,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Repeat clients are a hallmark of any successful program, so we are proud to again partner with San Mateo to improve water quality in the San Francisco Bay.”
EPA’s WIFIA loan will help the City of San Mateo protect public health and water quality by increasing its capacity to manage wastewater during storms, alleviating sewer overflows and preventing discharges of partially treated water into the Bay. Specifically, San Mateo will improve its sanitary sewer collection system by replacing aging lift stations, sewer mains, and manholes and constructing a new wastewater flow equalization facility. The project is designed to meet regulatory requirements, eliminate waste discharges, and correct conditions that cause sanitary sewer overflows.
“EPA’s financial support to the City of San Mateo is critical to addressing local wastewater infrastructure needs,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “Not only will this project reduce sewage overflows and improve recreational use of the San Francisco Bay, it will also create jobs during an especially challenging economic period.”
“Our partnership with the EPA has been a lifeline to ensure our City’s much-needed infrastructure improvements can be achieved,” said City of San Mateo Public Works Director Brad Underwood. “The EPA’s support means our ratepayers feel less of the burden while we make our environment cleaner for all residents of the City, and the fish, birds, and mammals that call the San Francisco Bay home.”
WIFIA is providing financial support at a critical time as the federal government, EPA, and the water sector work together to help mitigate the public health and financial impacts of COVID-19. This project will cost $173.7 million and EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure. The remaining project funds will come from a combination of revenue bonds and system funds. This WIFIA loan will save the City of San Mateo an estimated $15.4 million. Project construction and operation are expected to create more than 500 jobs. Since March 2020, WIFIA has announced 25 loan closings and updated seven existing loans with lower interest rates.
These recent announcements will save ratepayers over $1.5 billion. Since the first WIFIA loan was closed in 2018, EPA has announced 41 WIFIA loans that are providing $7.8 billion in credit assistance to help finance $16.8 billion for water infrastructure while creating more than 38,800 jobs and saving ratepayers $3.7 billion.
Background on WIFIA
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. WIFIA’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs.