MIL-OSI USA: EPA Announces $221 Million Loan to Modernize Water Infrastructure for Approximately Six Million New Jersey Residents

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Source: US Environment Protection Agency

Nationally, 84 WIFIA loans are financing $32 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 96,000 jobs

WASHINGTON — Today, at an event with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette and other local officials, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox announced a $221 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the New Jersey Infrastructure I-Bank. With this loan, the New Jersey State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program, a partnership between the NJDEP and the I-Bank, is investing in 28 water infrastructure projects to modernize water systems to protect public health and the environment for over 5.8 million people in the State.

“EPA is proud to partner with New Jersey to innovatively invest WIFIA funding and benefit many communities by removing dangerous lead service lines, strengthening drinking water systems, safely returning wastewater to the environment, and uplifting low-income communities and communities of color,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “EPA is working to ensure that all Americans have clean and safe water—through the WIFIA program and by investing $50 billion in water through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

This WIFIA funding, combined with New Jersey SRF monies, will support $588 million in infrastructure for New Jersey communities that will advance public health, save money, and create local jobs. The New Jersey Infrastructure Bank’s pool of SRF projects include 26 drinking water projects that address local challenges, including removing contaminants, preventing leaks, improving system resiliency, and replacing lead service lines. Two wastewater projects will also receive funding. These projects will improve treatment capacity and provide higher a level of treatment at wastewater treatment facilities. The entities receiving this financing serve over 5.8 million people. This includes six disadvantaged communities that will receive approximately $360 million in financing or 61% of the total.

“Thanks to the EPA’s support, these critical investments will together benefit more than half of the state’s population, including New Jerseyans in communities most at risk of flooding, contaminated drinking water, and inadequate wastewater infrastructure,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “In New Jersey, we recognize that the state of our economy is inextricably linked to the health of our residents and our environment. By generating jobs and maintaining water affordability, these projects will not only advance public health and sustainability but stimulate economic growth as well.”

“Four years ago, I worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to expand access to WIFIA loans in order to address the backlog of long-overdue water infrastructure projects in America,” said Senator Cory Booker. “I am encouraged to see New Jersey partner with the EPA and use these loans to fund critical initiatives that will upgrade water systems, ensure the safety of drinking water, and protect the health and safety of communities across our state.”

“Modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is a matter of public health, environmental safety, and racial and economic justice,” said Senator Robert Menendez.  “New Jersey is home to some of the oldest towns and cities in America, and many are grappling with aging water infrastructure, including lead pipes and outdated wastewater and stormwater systems. This federal and state partnership will put people to work replacing lead water lines, upgrading sewer systems, and reducing wastewater pollution, with a renewed emphasis on underserved communities that too often bear the brunt of our environmental crises.”

“The bipartisan infrastructure law was always more than just an investment in new, good paying jobs and fixing roads and bridges,” said Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03). “Every American deserves the comfort of knowing the water coming into their house is safe to drink. I’m proud to have voted for the bipartisan infrastructure law that reauthorized the WIFIA loan program and am even happier that Brick and Moorestown – two townships in my district – are about to see major investments in their water infrastructure. These projects are crucial for health and safety, and I look forward to more projects coming to New Jersey in the coming months.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for our state and our residents, all of whom have a basic human right to safe drinking water and deserve to be able to trust the water coming out of their tap,” said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (NJ-06). “These federal funds will help restore that trust by making critical upgrades to our local water systems by improving reliability, removing contamination, replacing toxic lead services lines, and protecting New Jerseyans from unsafe drinking water. I’m thrilled to know our communities will be kept safer by this funding and will keep fighting to build on this progress and improve more of our state’s critical infrastructure.”

“Since day one, I’ve been fighting for clean drinking water for our kids, free of lead and forever chemicals,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05). “This new investment will directly address the concerns that I regularly hear from parents — that the water their children are drinking may not be safe.”

“Every family, school, and business in South Jersey deserves safe drinking water. That’s why I fought to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars for water projects that will protect our health and create good jobs,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01).

“Much of the water infrastructure in our district is aging and badly in need of repair,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski (NJ-07). “This assistance from the EPA will modernize our deteriorating systems, and ensure residents of Hunterdon, Somerset, and Morris Counties have access to clean and safe water.”

“This announcement is excellent news for both our district in North Jersey and our entire great state,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09). “As New Jersey continues to grow, aggressively funding these infrastructure projects is essential to ensuring our state has the resources in place for the next generation. The Water Bank and its work is a critical piece of that puzzle. Government works best when our federal and state leaders work together to bring results to our communities. I thank the Biden and Murphy administrations for their collaboration on behalf of Garden Staters.”

“Today’s announcement opens the door for many critical water infrastructure projects across my district and the State to be completed,” said Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10). “This funding will go toward financing projects such as lead pipe replacement in Newark, water main replacements in Jersey City, and water main replacements in East Orange. I am proud to be continuing the work in Congress to upgrade the nation’s water infrastructure and am grateful to the Biden administration for its efforts to prioritize infrastructure investment in underserved communities.”

“We are very grateful to the EPA for this loan. Modernizing our water infrastructure and doing so wisely is a high priority for the Murphy Administration,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “By bringing this infrastructure up to date, we will be ensuring the highest standards of protection for public health and the environment, such as the important improvements at this Moorestown water treatment plant, and we will be creating jobs and economic growth. This WIFIA loan will result in some 1,800 jobs and save the state approximately $51 million in NJ State Revolving Funds, allowing the I-Bank to finance more projects without costing borrowers or the state one dime.”

For more information about the WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia. 

Background

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 has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. 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.

With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 84 WIFIA loans that are providing $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance approximately $32 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 96,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.

For more information about the WIFIA program’s accomplishments through 2022, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-annual-report. 

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