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News Release
Andre Tolme, US Senator Jeff Merkley, Chris Hladick
Andre Tolme, US Senator Jeff Merkley, Chris Hladick
Senator Merkley Attends Local WIFIA Loan Close Celebration (Photo) - 10/09/19

US Senator Jeff Merkley, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, and local agency representiatives joined Tualatin Valley Water District and the City of Hillsboro in celebrating the close of local Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans - one to the Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD), and the other to the City of Hillsboro - marking the first time that WIFIA has provided financing for two individual borrowers partnering on a joint project.

Speakers included U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley; Chris Hladick, Region 10 Administrator for the EPA; Bernice Bagnall, TVWD Board President; and Steve Callaway, Mayor of Hillsboro.

The WIFIA loans are providing approximately $388 million for TVWD and $251 million for City of Hillsboro, respectively, to invest in the Willamette Water Supply System (WWSS), an additional and seismically resilient water supply. Currently under construction, the WWSS includes intake facilities, over 30 miles of pipes, a water treatment plant, and two storage reservoirs. The system will deliver fresh, high-quality treated water from the Willamette River to 400,000 Washington County residents and businesses, and is being built to the highest seismic safety standard to recover quickly after a major earthquake. The investments in the system will provide reliable, quality drinking water for generations to come.

In addition to meeting the region’s water needs, the construction of the program is providing fuel for the local economy. The EPA estimates the program will create 4,168 jobs through substantial completion in 2026. To date, 95 percent of all WWSS expenditures, over $117.5 million, have been spent in the local economy.

“This is an exciting day for Washington County residents!” said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. “I created the WIFIA program to invest in water infrastructure projects and job creation after hearing from Oregonians that water infrastructure is one of the top issues facing their communities. The WWSS project will save ratepayers money and help ensure access to clean, safe and reliable water for generations to come—creating thousands of jobs in the process. This program continues to be a great model for delivering results through local and federal collaboration, without the need for additional tax dollars.”

The WIFIA program was created by Congress in 2014 with the leadership of Senators Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, and Peter DeFazio to accelerate investments in the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure by using a competitive process to provide low-cost supplemental credit assistance to creditworthy water and wastewater projects of national and regional significance. The WWSS was one of 39 projects selected from 62 letters of interest received in the 2018 round.

TVWD, the City of Hillsboro and the City of Beaverton are partnering to build the Willamette Water Supply System. The current project cost is forecast at $1.3 billion, and is Oregon’s largest locally funded infrastructure project. The WIFIA loans will fund almost half the costs and will save TVWD ratepayers an estimated $138.4 million and City of Hillsboro ratepayers an estimated $125.2 million compared to typical bond financing.

Learn more about the steps being taken now to ensure our communities have adequate water supply to meet future demand and provide greater reliability, visit www.OurReliableWater.org.

Event highlights available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lldjKPROVGY&feature=youtu.be

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