EPA to Hold WIFIA Listening Sessions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a series of listening sessions on the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which NLC supported as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) bill.
The WIFIA provision creates a five-year pilot program to provide low-interest loans and loan guarantees for large water and wastewater-related infrastructure projects and activities of at least $20 million. Smaller projects serving fewer than 25,000 people will be eligible if the cost of the project surpasses $5 million.
At the upcoming listening sessions, EPA will give an overview of WIFIA, provide a summary of financial assistance options and terms under the law, and detail the status of agency efforts to get the program up and running. While Congress has not yet appropriated funding, there is interest in doing so once EPA can demonstrate progress in establishing the program.
EPA is modeling the program off of the TIFIA transportation program. While the Agency is consulting with the U.S. Department of Transportation about TIFIA challenges and successes from the federal side, it’s important for EPA to hear about TIFIA challenges and successes from the local side.
The listening sessions are a good opportunity for local governments to share examples of what has worked well with TIFIA implementation and what can be improved upon for WIFIA. Additionally, EPA would like to hear from local governments on other issues such as eligibility, selection process/criteria, and the kinds of projects cities would like to fund via WIFIA.
The listening sessions are targeted at private finance sector representatives, municipal and state governments, and regional utility decision makers.
The events will take place at the following place and times:
- Los Angeles, CA – Oct. 17
- Atlanta, GA – Oct. 29
- Dallas, TX – Oct. 30
- San Francisco, CA – Nov. 17
For any additional information, contact EPA at WIFIA@epa.gov.
EPA is in the process of planning one additional listening session in Washington, DC later this year.
Reminder – Through Dec. 3, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is accepting WRRDA proposals from local governments for proposed feasibility studies and proposed modifications to authorized water resources development projects.