WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $75 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Howard County, Maryland to support Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan projects. The WIFIA loan from the EPA will help Howard County implement a comprehensive plan to preserve historic Main Street by improving water infrastructure for flood resistance.
“Residents of Ellicott City have experienced severe flooding and know only too well how disastrous it can be when water infrastructure fails,” said EPA Deputy Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Through WIFIA, the EPA is investing in climate resilience to protect the residents, businesses, property, and history of this charming city. The agency is also working to deliver the benefits of water infrastructure investments to more communities with $50 billion through the bipartisan infrastructure act.
“Historic flooding occurs regularly in Ellicott City. But it doesn’t have to be and local leaders are taking the right steps to improve flood resilience and protect local homes and businesses,” said Senator Ben Cardin, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.. “Team Maryland will continue to work to secure federal water infrastructure resources for Ellicott City and throughout Maryland.”
“Severe flooding has wreaked havoc on the town of Ellicott, affecting its residents and the businesses that make up this historic treasure. Following these floods, we are committed to providing the community with solutions to mitigate the risks of extreme weather events and better prepare for the future. This investment is the result of this work and this partnership,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. “Not only will this project help protect local residents and businesses during severe weather, it will also preserve Ellicott City’s important cultural and historic Main Street, the heart of this community for generations to come.
“Ellicott City is a proud and tenacious community. As our country increasingly faces extreme weather events from climate change, Ellicott City is leading the way in repairing the damage of the past and making cities safer for the future,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3). “With state and federal money – like the funds announced today – and local commitment and collaboration, the North Tunnel will reduce flooding, protect residents and businesses, and preserve the rich history of this community for generations to come. »
Howard County is proceeding with the comprehensive Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan after experiencing several devastating 1,000-year floods between 2016 and 2018. Projects in the plan will significantly reduce the impact of flooding in the City of Ellicott by providing infrastructure resilient, managing stream debris and increasing green space. Projects include the construction of dry flood mitigation facilities, flood mitigation improvements in the Lower Main Street area, hydraulic planning and modeling efforts, and construction of a tunnel that will intercept stormwater from the Hudson Branch to the Patapsco River. By implementing these projects, Howard County will protect public safety in Ellicott City, preserve the historic and cultural value of Main Street, and encourage economic development.
“The Environmental Protection Agency and our federal delegation are incredible partners in our efforts to implement an effective flood mitigation plan for Ellicott City, returning our community safe and sound,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Building resilience so that our historic community can thrive and withstand future challenges has been an important priority, and $167 million has been dedicated in federal, state and local funds over several years to implement our plan. We have completed warning systems and are building water retention areas, and now we will be able to move forward with an innovative tunnel project that will help reduce the level of stormwater threatening homes and buildings. We are grateful to everyone working together to achieve these important goals.
Howard County will save about $13 million by financing with WIFIA loans. Construction is expected to be completed in 2026, and construction and operation are expected to create approximately 900 jobs.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Funding and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by the EPA. WIFIA’s objective is to accelerate investments in the country’s water infrastructure by providing additional long-term, low-cost credit support for projects of regional and national importance. The WIFIA program will prioritize projects that help achieve the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that federal agencies provide at least 40% of the benefits of certain investments to underserved communities.
The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. With the closing of this WIFIA loan, the EPA announced 85 WIFIA loans that provide $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance approximately $32 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 97,000 jobs and saving over $5 billion to taxpayers.
Learn more about the WIFIA program.
For more information on the achievements of the WIFIA program until 2021.