EPA urges states to route water infrastructure funds to underserved communities
As Virginia prepares to receive more than $126 million in infrastructure funding for water projects next year, the Environmental Protection Agency is calling on governors, including Virginia’s, to prioritize the use of funds for underserved communities.
“We know that economically stressed communities — small, large, rural, urban and suburban — often lack the financial, technical and managerial capacity to access traditional” state water and wastewater loans, EPA Administrator Michael Regan wrote in a Dec. 2 letter to Northam. “States have the power to open the door to disadvantaged communities who for too long have struggled to compete for financing.”
Among the provisions included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress last month is $44 billion that will be allotted in 2022 for state revolving funds.
Revolving funds are the primary tool states use to pay for water and wastewater infrastructure. Seeded by federal and state dollars, they offer low-interest loans and grants for projects such as publicly owned wastewater collection and treatment facility upgrades, water line replacements and brownfield contamination cleanup.