Fort Lauderdale Receives $120M EPA Water Infrastructure Loan

STAFF & WIRE REPORTS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late October announced a $120 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Fort Lauderdale. This funding is designed to improve stormwater management and bolster climate resilience in the city’s most flood-prone neighborhoods. Since its creation, EPA’s WIFIA program has announced $19 billion in financing to support 114 projects that are strengthening drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

Fort Lauderdale Water Infrastructure Loan

“With this investment, Fort Lauderdale will strengthen its climate resilience, develop innovative green infrastructure projects and upgrade traditional stormwater systems to reduce flood risk for local residents and businesses,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic $50 billion investment in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the availability of innovative financing options like WIFIA, EPA continues to provide funding so communities across the country can address urgent water infrastructure concerns.”

The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Neighborhood Stormwater Improvements Project will enhance climate resilience, upgrade stormwater infrastructure, and reduce water pollution. The City of Fort Lauderdale is at elevated risk of climate impacts, including sea-level rise, elevated groundwater, and more frequent and severe rain events. This WIFIA loan supports implementation of green and gray infrastructure to help manage stormwater in impacted neighborhoods, including many with environmental justice concerns. Additionally, the city will improve water quality in intercoastal waterways by replacing aging, corroding pipelines that leach heavy metals and contaminants.

“We are tremendously grateful to the EPA for granting our city this generous loan as we recover from April’s historic flooding and prepare for a resilient future,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “Neighborhoods that are hardest hit by storms including River Oaks, Dorsey-Riverbend, Durrs, Progresso Village, Victoria Park, Melrose Manors, and Southeast Isles will greatly benefit from the stormwater improvements these funds will finance.”

“Fort Lauderdale continues its historic commitment to investing in climate resiliency and stormwater mitigation,” said District 1 Commissioner John Herbst. “This funding from our federal partners will assist us in doing more to improve our infrastructure for the benefit of our residents and visitors.”

“A large portion of my district is waterfront with some locations just a short walk from the ocean,” said District 2 Commissioner Steven Glassman. “As sea level rises, we are grateful for the support from our federal partners in fortifying our beautiful City and will continue to work with the EPA to keep our neighbors safe and resilient.”

“No community is left behind, including my district; 15 communities which were hit hard during April’s historic floods,” said Vice Mayor Pam Beasley-Pittman. “I am grateful as this much-needed support will help us build a stronger and more resilient community for future generations.”

“I was out there with my constituents who were some of the hardest hit during April’s historic floods, most notably in Edgewood and River Oaks, and it was heartbreaking to see the devastation,” said District 4 Commissioner Warren Sturman. “Being able to share this wonderful news with my district means so much to me as we continue to recover together.”

The City of Fort Lauderdale will save approximately $26 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Investing in local water infrastructure will create approximately 200 jobs.

Learn more about EPA’s WIFIA Program and water infrastructure investments under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Background

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan 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.

EPA recently made the 7th round of WIFIA financing available and is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. There is $6.5 billion available through WIFIA, and $1 billion is available through SWIFIA, which is a loan program exclusively for State infrastructure financing authority borrowers. EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. Learn more about submitting a letter of interest for a WIFIA loan.

In addition to WIFIA loans, there are many federal funding resources available for communities and utilities to improve vital water and wastewater resources. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a historic $50 billion investment in upgrading critical water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. ●

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