Howard to Apply for EPA Loan for Safe & Sound Projects

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that Howard County was selected to apply for a loan from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finance projects as part of the Ellicott City Safe & Sound plan.

Howard County was selected to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) funding from the EPA to finance the North Tunnel and other flood mitigation projects as part of the Ellicott City Safe & Sound plan. The invitation to apply signals that the EPA intends to fund the projects included in the application, pending a review of detailed financial and engineering information.

From the press release:

“Our commitment to keeping Ellicott City safe and sound has not wavered, and this funding for the North Tunnel and our other projects paves the way for us to continue our significant flood mitigation efforts for our historic town,” said Ball.

Howard County was selected from 67 letters of interest submitted by private and public entities and is among 55 organizations that were selected by the EPA to apply for WIFIA funding. The exact amount of funding will be determined through the application process, which must be submitted within a year. The EPA will then review the application and perform due diligence regarding credit, legal and technical aspects of the projects.

The County can be approved by the EPA to borrow up to 49 percent of the cost of the Safe & Sound plan through the WIFIA loan program, while the remaining 51 percent of the costs will be funded by a combination of County and other sources. Preliminary engineering is being finalized for the North Tunnel and final design is anticipated to commence in the next several months.

The WIFIA program offers loans with low, fixed interest rates and flexible financial terms. Borrowers and their customers benefit from significant cost saving. Since Fiscal Year 2017, WIFIA has selected 89 projects to apply for a WIFIA loan, totaling requests of more than $13 billion.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for the latest.