EPA to Provide WIFIA Loans Totaling $396 Million To Modernize Baltimore’s Water Infrastructure

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Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $396 million in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) financing to the City of Baltimore. EPA’s WIFIA program will help fund projects to modernize water infrastructure across the City, focusing on supporting low-income communities and communities of color.

“In my first year as EPA Administrator, I have visited communities from coast to coast. I’ve seen aging infrastructure that communities count on for clean and safe water. I’ve seen the harm that is caused when water systems fail, and I’ve seen the revitalization that comes with new investment,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Investing in water infrastructure strengthens the health of our communities while creating good paying jobs. This is a fundamental way that EPA is Building a Better America under President Biden’s leadership, and its why we’re so excited to put more than $50 billion to work in water infrastructure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

Baltimore’s WIFIA loans will enable the city to proactively implement several projects to improve the reliability and resiliency of its water systems. For example, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will reduce water main breaks by replacing over 37 miles of aging pipes in less than two years. Additional projects include modernizing wastewater collection and treatment to increase capacity and investing in green infrastructure to improve stormwater management.

“The WIFIA loans will allow us to make necessary infrastructure upgrades to Baltimore’s existing water infrastructure — improvements that will go towards supporting communities in East and West Baltimore that have been traditionally excluded from such investments,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I want to thank our partners at the EPA for these loans, which will allow us to free up additional funding to support our water affordability program, as well as other initiatives.”

“We are grateful to the EPA for the WIFIA loans to the City of Baltimore,” said Department of Public Works Director Jason W. Mitchell. “These loans will enable the Department of Public Works to modernize water infrastructure across the City. DPW will make these critical improvements using an equity lens to prioritize supporting low-income communities and communities of color. Taking full advantage of the WIFIA program allows the department to not only protect Baltimore City ratepayers as infrastructure costs continue to rise but also expand access for residents to our high-quality award-winning water through such programs as the upcoming Water4All.”

Consistent with the City’s Equitable Action Plan, historically underserved communities will directly benefit from these system improvements. Additionally, through WIFIA, the City will save approximately $100 million that can be used to support other initiatives, including the new Water4All affordability program. WIFA financing totaling nearly $396 million will support roughly half of the $845 million project costs. Project construction and operation expect to create an estimated 2,700 jobs. 

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. 

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

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Contact

Yolanda Winkler
410-545-6541
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.