WASHINGTON – On May 16, 2023, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the signing of a final rule to implement a new credit assistance program for dam safety projects.
The new program, named the Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program, will offer credit assistance in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees for non-federal dam safety projects to maintain, upgrade and repair dams identified in the National Inventory of Dams. The program will accelerate non-federal investments in water resources infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost loans with flexible repayment options to creditworthy borrowers.
“By expanding the tools for infrastructure financing, the Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program will accelerate completion of dam safety projects nationwide,” said Mr. Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “This critical program will support local communities by improving dam safety, building resilience and providing financial savings for crucial infrastructure investments.”
The final rule, signed today by Mr. Connor, establishes the process by which the Corps will administer credit assistance, including the assessment of fees. This rule also sets forth the policies and procedures that the Corps will use for receiving, evaluating and approving applications, and for servicing and monitoring direct loans and loan guarantees. Priority will be given for projects serving economically disadvantaged communities through fee waivers and project financing up to 80% of the total project costs.
“The nation faces a significant challenge in financing the rehabilitation, improvement and expansion of aging civil works infrastructure, particularly dam infrastructure,” said Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ commanding general. “This program will help address this challenge by providing long-term, low-cost loans for dam safety projects.”
This is a significant milestone for the Corps and represents a new and innovative way to support the nation’s investment in infrastructure, while reducing the reliance on federal funding. The CWIFP will provide significant savings to local taxpayers for infrastructure investment.
According to the Corps, the program will provide approximately $7.5 billion in total project financing and support up to $15 billion of infrastructure investment nationwide.
This program was authorized under the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, often referred to as the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014. Program funding and further statutory direction was provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021.
The final rule will be posted in the Federal Register and will go into effect 30 days after it is posted. Upon going into effect, the Corps will post a notice of funding availability, which will formally open the program and provide interested borrowers with instructions on the application process. More information about the CWIFP can be found here: https://www.usace.army.mil/CWIFP.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works establishes policy direction and provides supervision of the Department of the Army functions relating to all aspects of the Civil Works Program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For more information, please contact the CWIFP Team at CWIFP@usace.army.mil or 612-518-0355.