WIFIA Legislation Would Provide Low-Cost Loans for Water Infrastructure Projects

U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced legislation in late January to reauthorize the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). The bill would help stimulate investment in water infrastructure, such as flood control, stormwater management, and wastewater treatment by supplementing Federal funding with long-term, low-cost loans and loan guarantees. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

“Our legislation helps ensure State and local governments have access to flexible funding sources when building their water infrastructure,” says Sen. Hoeven. “WIFIA represents an opportunity to advance vital projects across North Dakota, like comprehensive flood protection in the Red River Valley and the Minot Region, while also helping to reduce costs.”

WIFIA first became law as part of the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which authorized the program under both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). To date, WIFIA has supported $2.3 billion in loans, helping to leverage State, local, and private funding and resulting in $5.1 billion in project investments.

However, USACE has been unable to implement the WIFIA program to date. The recently introduced bill would consolidate the administration of the WIFIA programs and make these loans available for an additional five years, through fiscal year 2024. This would allow USACE to rely on the USEPA’s administrative infrastructure and begin identifying projects that are eligible for support.