WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) today announced $396 million in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans for the City of Baltimore, Md., to help the city upgrade aging water infrastructure, including in low-income communities and communities of color. Project construction and operation are expected to create an estimated 2,700 jobs.
“No Marylander should have to worry about access to clean water. Together with the resources already headed to our state from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, these loans will boost water infrastructure improvements, helping to ensure our communities have access to safe water,” the lawmakers said. “This federal support will aid the City’s ongoing efforts to strengthen water mains and reliably deliver clean drinking water to homes and businesses across the city, especially disadvantaged communities. This is a win-win-win for Baltimore – improving public health, equity, and our economy.”
These loans will enable the City to improve the reliability and resiliency of its water systems through projects to modernize wastewater collection and treatment, increase capacity, and invest in green infrastructure to improve stormwater management. The $396 million total is comprised of three WIFIA loans, broken down as follows:
- $160.8 million to modernize major components of the city’s wastewater collection and treatment facilities to increase capacity and reliability; the project serves 1.6 million residents and will create 1,083 jobs.
- $192.7 million to proactively rehabilitate existing water main infrastructure to ensure long term operability and resilience to the effects of climate change; the project serves 1.8 million people and will create 1,313 jobs.
- $42.5 million to increase capacity for stormwater treatment, which will improve water quality, help address flooding issues, and modernize existing drainage infrastructure; the project serves 620,862 people and will create 320 jobs.
Together, they will finance nearly half of the $845 million project costs. By utilizing the WIFIA loans, the city will save approximately $100 million that could otherwise burden ratepayers.
The lawmakers have consistently fought to support and fund the WIFIA program to deliver important resources like these to our communities – including by working to reauthorize this program at $50 million a year for the next five years through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In February 2019, the City received $202 million from this program to upgrade wastewater infrastructure at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.
In addition to these loans, the infrastructure modernization law that the lawmakers fought to enact last year will make historic investments in water systems across Maryland. Last month, the Maryland Congressional Democrats announced that the state received more than $140 million for water infrastructure improvements for fiscal year 2022.