We’ve applied for a low- cost supplemental loan from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to build the Bull Run Treatment Projects. Based on rate projections, it will provide up to $350 million of debt service savings.
We're Investing in Our Water Future and Reducing Costs with WIFIA Loan
The WIFIA program was created by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and passed by Congress in 2014, and officially launched in 2017. It's designed to speed the investment in water infrastructure by providing low-cost loans for nationally and regionally significant projects like the Bull Run Treatment Project.
If our application is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the loan will help finance important and necessary improvements to Portland’s water system, including improved corrosion control, a new filtration facility, and related pipelines.
WIFIA Loans Offer Us a Low, Fixed Interest Rate
- WIFIA provides long-term, low-cost supplemental loans.
- Based on rate projections, it will provide up to $350 million of debt service savings over the term of the loan.
- The interest rate is fixed at the U.S. Treasury bond rate for a similar maturity on the date the loan closes.
- The low rate remains locked in for the life of the loan.
WIFIA Loans Give Us Flexible Financing
- WIFIA offers a flexible repayment schedule to allow for water rate increases to be phased in over a longer period of time.
- We have up to 35 years after substantial completion of the project to repay a loan, saving ratepayers money by allowing for smaller payment amounts over the life of the loan.
- The EPA will allow delaying loan repayment until after the filtration facility is substantially completed in 2027.
- Payments on the loan will not need to begin until after ratepayers are already getting the benefits of the new facilities.
WIFIA Loans Can Help Create Jobs
- Bull Run Treatment Projects are anticipated to create 7,500 direct construction jobs.
- Construction contracts will include Community Benefits Agreements that incorporate workforce equity and community inclusion goals.
- Construction contracts will promote training and work opportunities for minorities and women in the construction industry.
WIFIA Loan Amounts
- The loan will cover up to 49 percent of eligible project costs.
- The total allowable WIFIA loan includes cost estimates submitted to Portland City Council in 2019
- $820 million for the filtration facility and pipelines
- $20 million for improved corrosion control
- Other eligible costs include inflation, indirect costs, bond reserves and interest costs, and a contingency amount.
Financial Assistance Program
We will continue to assist those who struggle to afford their bill through the expanded low-income assistance program. If you’re having trouble affording your bill, our Financial Assistance program may be able to help.
Bull Run Treatment Projects
We are making two important improvements to our water supply from Bull Run to help keep our water safe and abundant for generations to come. Improved Corrosion Control Treatment will be in place in 2022 and will further adjust the chemistry of our water, reducing potential levels of lead at the tap. Filtration will be in operation in 2027 and will remove the microorganism Cryptosporidium and other potential contaminants from our water. Both projects are required under state and federal law.