Nationally, 90 WIFIA loans are financing over $33 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 101,000 jobs
September 13, 2022
WASHINGTON – Today, at an event with Mayor Todd Gloria, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $225 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of San Diego, California, to support the Stormwater Capital Improvement Project. With EPA’s WIFIA loan, the City of San Diego will protect water quality, reduce flood risk, and restore natural habitats while supporting resiliency to the impacts of climate change.
“These innovative projects harness the power of green technology to protect public health and the environment,” said EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “By investing in its water infrastructure, EPA is helping San Diego protect its communities from potential flooding and prevent runoff of untreated stormwater into local waterways.”
This is EPA’s third WIFIA loan to the City of San Diego. The Stormwater Capital Improvement Program will utilize traditional infrastructure and green infrastructure to reduce flood risk and ensure that water flowing into local tributaries is clean and safe for San Diego’s 1.4 million residents. To accomplish this, the city is using the WIFIA program’s innovative and flexible terms to finance the design and construction of the Stormwater Capital Improvement Program’s nearly 80 projects. These projects will redirect captured stormwater through existing, traditional drainage passageways as well as implement new, multi-benefit green technologies that will use the city’s natural environment to filter stormwater and reduce untreated runoff that enters the Pacific Ocean. The city’s green infrastructure projects will make additional important community outcomes possible, including the restoration of critical wetland habitats for plants and animals, reducing the heat-island effect, community beautification, and creating green space.
“Our storm drain system is largely underground and out of sight, but the implications of this aging infrastructure failing are massive – from serious flooding in our neighborhoods to pollution of our bays and the ocean,” said City of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “While replacing storm drains and upgrading pump stations doesn’t capture the public’s attention like fixing potholes, these major investments in critical infrastructure are incredibly important to our neighborhoods and quality of life.”
The city will save approximately $63 million by financing with a WIFIA loan and capitalizing on EPA’s flexibility to match WIFIA loan repayment amounts with a revenue source that grows over time. Construction under this loan is expected to be completed in 2027 and construction and operation are estimated to create approximately 1,500 jobs. This is the first loan under a new master agreement that will commit over $350 million in WIFIA assistance to the City of San Diego.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/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. The WIFIA program’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. With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 90 WIFIA loans that are providing over $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance over $33 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 101,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.
Earlier this spring, EPA announced the availability of $5.5 billion under the 2022 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability and an additional $1 billion under the State Infrastructure Financing Authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. Together, this newly available funding will support more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs. Visit the NOFA webpage for more information.