EPA Selects Baltimore to Apply for $200M Loan

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Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) has been invited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to apply for $200 million in credit assistance to improve its water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. Only 12 projects in nine states were selected to apply for loans under EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, out of 43 that submitted letters of interest this spring.

Not only would the funding help DPW pay for critical upgrades to its aging pipes and operating plants, but the WIFIA loans come at a more affordable rate than DPW could get on the private financial markets. That represents millions of dollars in value for the Department’s ratepayers.

“The federal government is recognizing not just the urgent need to upgrade our water infrastructure, but also the thoughtful planning, engineering, and construction that DPW has been doing to meet these needs,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “It is an honor to be selected by EPA to apply for this loan, and I am confident DPW will submit a successful proposal.”

The funds would be used to help Baltimore City complete various projects to repair, rehabilitate, replace, and upgrade its wastewater collection and treatment, water treatment and distribution, and stormwater management systems. They are among billions of dollars in construction projects DPW is building and will construct in order to assure safe, clean water for people and the environment for generations to come, and to satisfy increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.

“Securing WIFIA funding will help DPW pay for many of these projects at favorable rates, which will make our ratepayers’ money go further,” said DPW Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. “We know how important it is to seek non-traditional sources of funding in order to take some of the burden off our customers.”

Other funding sources including EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans and municipal bonds, some $87 million of which are being used to help finance the Druid Lake and Lake Ashburton finished water reservoir projects. Though DPW has a AA bond rating, these other sources of funding still come with lower interest rates than are available on the open market.

The WIFIA program was established at EPA in 2014 to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia

 

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James E. Bentley II
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The Baltimore City Department of Public Works supports the health, environment, and economy of our City and region by cleaning our neighborhoods and waterways and providing its customers with safe drinking water and sustainable energy practices.