Interest in WIFIA Program Outstrips Available Funding
(July 24, 2019) – EPA announced last week that it has received 51 requests in the third round of funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program totaling $6.6 billion, which exceeds the $6 billion EPA has available in funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. This demonstrates the critical need for investment in our nation’s water infrastructure and the strong interest in the WIFIA program.
The funding requests cover a wide variety of issues, including wastewater, drinking water, desalination, stormwater management and combined approaches. Several prospective borrowers also submitted letter of interests for water reuse and recycling projects, which were specifically listed as a priority by EPA for this funding round. The majority of prospective borrowers are municipal government agencies – including a number of NACWA member utilities – while other prospective borrowers include small communities, public-private partnerships and corporations.
As the next step in this competitive process, EPA will evaluate the letters for project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility and alignment with WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria. The agency will then identify projects it intends to finance and invite those selected entities to submit formal applications this fall.
NACWA has been a strong supporter of greater funding for the WIFIA program in the past, and the level of interest expressed during this funding round emphasizes the importance of asking for even more WIFIA funding from Congress for the FY 2020 budget cycle.