The WIFIA Improvement Act of 2020 was recently introduced as a means for helping provide support for public water projects. The bipartisan legislation would make changes to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014. The amendments would make water projects eligible for low-interest federal loans from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) applauds the introduction of the ‘WIFIA Improvement Act of 2020’ by Rep. John Garamendi,” ACWA Executive Director Dave Eggerton said in a news release. “One of ACWA’s highest priorities is updating California’s water infrastructure. By improving the WIFIA funding program, this legislation helps California’s water community move forward with critical water infrastructure investments.”
The act was introduced by Congressman John Garamendi, with Representatives TJ Cox, Jim Costa, Doug LaMalfa, Josh Harder, and Dan Newhouse co-sponsoring the legislation. The WIFIA Improvement Act has been endorsed by the Friant Water Authority, the Family Farm Alliance, the Sites Project Joint Powers Authority, and others. The legislation would help to lower the cost for certain water projects by allowing them to be eligible for longer-term loans. Certain water projects could receive 55-year loan terms instead of the current 35-year loan terms.
“This is a critically important piece of legislation that will help drive down the cost of essential water infrastructure investments nationwide, including Sites Reservoir,” said Fritz Durst, Chair of Sites Project Authority Board of Directors. “This legislation will help make the Sites Project even more affordable, particularly for local, Sacramento Valley agriculture, significantly reducing the cost of water. The annual debt service savings generated by the bill will also help spur additional local investments in other essential water infrastructure projects nationwide.”
The WIFIA Improvement Act was introduced on September 11 and has since been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.