Nationally, 86 WIFIA loans are financing over $32 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 97,000 jobs
May 31, 2022
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans totaling $97 million to the Medford Water Commission of Medford, Oregon. These WIFIA loans will help finance the Rogue Valley Water Supply Resiliency Program to provide safer and more resilient drinking water and meet growing demand for the Rogue Valley.
“Water is an essential and irreplaceable part of our daily lives, but for far too long our water infrastructure has been taken for granted. That is changing in Medford, thanks in part to $97 million through EPA’s WIFIA loan program,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “This investment in Medford’s critical water infrastructure will strengthen water system resiliency, improve water quality, and increase capacity to support growth. EPA is delivering the benefits of water infrastructure improvements to communities across the country, through WIFIA and with $50 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“Access to reliable clean water and a resilient water infrastructure system is crucial to the health and strength of every family,” said Senator Jeff Merkley, who authored the WIFIA law. “I am pleased that the Medford Water Commission’s Rogue Valley Water Supply is receiving two WIFIA loans to carry out vital projects ensuring the water in their community is safe and the infrastructure is resilient to natural disasters, without burdening the ratepayers. I will continue to work to ensure that Oregonians have access to clean and reliable drinking water and support programs like this.”
The Rogue Valley Water Supply Resiliency Program coincides with the 100-year anniversary of Medford Water. EPA’s WIFIA loan will help finance this multifaceted program to improve treatment that reduces lead and copper in drinking water; expand treatment and storage capacity at the Robert A. Duff Water Treatment Plant; increase transmission and storage capacity for customers; and modernize processes to improve taste and odor while addressing potential emerging contaminants. The program also includes building a resilient Water Campus to house administration and operational functions.
“Investing in our water infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the Rogue Valley is crucial,” said Mayor of the City of Medford Randy Sparacino. “These funds will help Medford Water complete a number of projects that will ensure continued access to high-quality water at affordable rates for our residents.”
“I am proud of the strategic financial planning that our organization has undertaken to secure this competitive funding,” said Chair of the Board of Water Commissioners Bob Strosser. “The terms of this WIFIA program provide us with a unique opportunity to advance resiliency and capacity—adding projects that will allow us to continue to serve future generations of the Rogue Valley.”
“I commend Medford Water for their efforts to obtain this low-cost financing from the Environmental Protection Agency. This loan will support investment in vital water infrastructure that is essential to our residents and local businesses,” said Central Point City Manager Chris Clayton. “The Rogue Valley Water Supply Resiliency Program is a dynamic way to meet the growing needs of our communities and address the challenges we face. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Medford Water to support the delivery of safe drinking water long into the future.”
“Infrastructure challenges are at an all-time high as we enter our second 100 years of service to our community,” said Medford Water General Manager Brad Taylor. “The WIFIA loan for our Rogue Valley Water Supply Program helps us manage these costs while still keeping our rates affordable.”
The Medford Water Commission will save approximately $12 million by financing with EPA’s WIFIA loans. Construction is expected to be completed in 2028 while construction and operation are expected to create approximately 600 jobs.
More about EPA’s WIFIA Program.
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 will prioritize projects that help achieve the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments to underserved communities.
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 86 WIFIA loans that are providing $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance over $32 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 97,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.
More information about the WIFIA program’s accomplishments through 2021.