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Friday, April 12, 2024
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Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to Provide USVI with $16.5M for Water Infrastructure Upgrades

Over $16.5 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will be allocated toward the U.S. Virgin Islands drinking water and clean water infrastructure upgrades, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.

While the State Revolving Funds have been a foundational source of water infrastructure investments since 1988, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, under the Biden-Harris Administration, is infusing an additional $50 billion—the largest such investment in American history. Almost half of this funding will be available as grants or principal forgiveness loans, ensuring funds reach communities that have been historically disinvested in and most in need of water infrastructure improvements. Most importantly, the state revolving funds provide states with the flexibility they need to respond to their most critical issues, according to the press release.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda continues to transform communities for the better with this latest infusion of funds for critical water infrastructure projects,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With $50 billion in total, the largest investment in water infrastructure in our nation’s history, EPA will enable communities across the nation to ensure safer drinking water for their residents and rebuild vital clean water infrastructure to protect public health for decades to come.”

“We are investing in clean water and providing millions of dollars to improve our region’s water infrastructure while safeguarding people’s health, enhancing the environment, and boosting local economies,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This is a critical moment in time to upgrade water infrastructure in US Virgin Islands and for making these vital improvements, particularly in communities that need it most.”

Communities across the country are facing water infrastructure challenges. Many cities and towns have aging water infrastructure – old, broken or lead pipes carrying drinking water and wastewater treatment plants in need of major upgrades. Some communities struggle to maintain adequate stormwater infrastructure to effectively manage flood impacts from climate change and others need to upgrade their water treatment to address emerging contaminants like PFAS, the press release stated.

The funding EPA announced for the U.S. Virgin Islands is part of a $5.8 billion investment through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF), one of EPA’s signature water investment programs. This multi-billion-dollar investment will fund islands-run, low-interest loan programs to address key challenges, with $2.6 billion going to the Clean Water SRF for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and $3.2 billion going to the Drinking Water SRF for drinking water infrastructure, the release stated.

The EPA’s announcement includes allotments for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law General Supplemental funds and Emerging Contaminant funds for SRF programs for fiscal year 2024. EPA anticipates announcing allocations for billions in additional resources in fiscal year 2024 for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Lead Service Line Replacement fund later this Spring, it said.

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