The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $263 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the city of Boise, Idaho, to support its Water Renewal Services Capital Investments Project. With this WIFIA loan, EPA is helping the city of Boise improve wastewater treatment processes to protect the Boise River's water quality and ultimately recharge the drought burdened Boise River with high quality effluent.
"Maintaining and upgrading water infrastructure is essential for the health of a community like Boise, which is a fast-growing city struggling with drought," EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox said. "Thanks to this WIFIA loan, the city of Boise can upgrade wastewater treatment technology to better safeguard the Boise River and even help recharge its water supply while providing good-paying jobs."
Frequent drought conditions and increased demand on water for irrigation have resulted in poorer water quality and lower levels of water in the Boise River. The city of Boise will use this WIFIA loan to implement its Water Renewal Services Capital Investments Project to modernize the city's wastewater conveyance and treatment facilities. The city will incorporate advanced treatment processes at its wastewater treatment facilities so that the high-quality effluent can be discharged into the Boise River to help increase water levels and protect water quality. By maintaining discharge levels into the river, the city will enhance the community's resilience to climate change.
"It's an incredible opportunity and honor to have been invited to participate in the WIFIA program," said Boise Mayor Lauren McLean. "Partnering with the EPA on this low-cost loan will help keep our water renewal rates affordable for Boiseans, protect our clean water and help ensure we have the water we need as our community grows."
This is the first of two WIFIA loans that will commit a total of nearly $400 million in credit assistance and will provide funding certainty for the largest capital investment in the City of Boise's history. By financing this first loan with WIFIA, the city of Boise will save approximately $80 million. Construction and operation under this first loan are estimated to create approximately 1,700 jobs.
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 95 WIFIA loans that are providing $16 billion in credit assistance to help finance $35 billion for water infrastructure while creating 106,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.
EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. In June, 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.
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