The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Jan. 5 that the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank will receive a $500 million loan to modernize the state’s wastewater and drinking water systems.
The loan is the first-ever issued through the State Infrastructure Financing Authority Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (SWIFIA) program, providing financing to state revolving fund programs.
In a press release, EPA Assistant Administration for Water Radhika Fox said that the agency is thrilled to make this first loan to the Garden State, touting the state’s efforts in making investments to improve its water infrastructure.
“With EPA’s low-interest WIFIA loan, New Jersey will invest in over 90 communities across the Garden State and create 16,000 jobs while saving approximately $62.5 million,” said Fox.
The SWIFIA loans, administered through the EPA’s WIFIA program, allow state infrastructure finance authorities to offer additional low-cost financing to communities and accelerate important water infrastructure projects.
The loan, along with additional funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection, will support the 90 projects around New Jersey, including in 36 small communities and 39 disadvantaged communities. Officials say the projects will help these communities maintain compliance with regulatory requirements, manage flooding, and improve climate change resiliency.
“The EPA’s SWIFIA loans will further solidify New Jersey’s status as a national model for water infrastructure, which serves as the foundation for healthy communities,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “In addition to helping our state secure safe, healthy, and efficient wastewater and drinking water systems for all New Jerseyans, the EPA’s support will also help generate good-paying jobs in our expanding water workforce.”
U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, both Democrats, touted the potential impact of the federal dollars.
“Rebuilding New Jersey’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure and expanding access to clean, safe water while creating good paying jobs is exactly the type of smart investment our communities and environment need,” said Menendez.
“This historic infusion of federal funds will help New Jersey implement vital water infrastructure projects,” said Booker. “I am excited the EPA is issuing its first SWIFIA loan to New Jersey. This funding will create hundreds of jobs and advance water infrastructure projects to address contaminants in drinking water, install water filtration systems, and replace lead pipes across our state.”