Today, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Boise announced it was invited to participate in the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. This federal loan program will provide $272 million in very low interest funding to make critical improvements in Boiseans’ water infrastructure.
“This means that the water renewal bills for Boise water users will stay affordable and predictable now and long into the future,” said Boise Mayor Lauren McLean. “This started when Boiseans made their voices heard last month and overwhelmingly approved the Water Renewal Bond with more than 80% of the vote. We promised a yes vote would keep rates affordable, keep our water renewable, keep the Boise River clean, and keep our water supply resilient. Today, we see a big part of those promises fulfilled.”
The EPA’s Idaho Operations Office Director Matt Szelag made the announcement at the Lander Street Water Renewal Facility, along with Mayor McLean and Boise Public Works Director Steve Burgos (pictures attached).
“This is a first. WIFIA has not been awarded in Idaho before and our leadership’s willingness to green light innovation in our utility is what has opened this opportunity,” said Director Burgos. “Our utility planning process brought together years of community input, financial analysis, and technical analysis to create a roadmap of solutions that address the many diverse needs of our community at once.”
Over the next few months, city staff will be working to finalize paperwork to the EPA. After which, they will come to Boise City Council with their first list of projects they expect to finance.
Some of the upcoming projects they have include:
- Launching a new recycled water program to diversify local water resources and combat the impacts of climate change.
- Repairing and replacing aging infrastructure, which has already started at the Lander Street Facility.
- Enhancing the health and quality of the Boise River through innovative instream improvements.