The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have announced the finalization of a rule that will establish a credit assistance program for dam safety projects. The program, known as the Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program (CWIFP), aims to provide financial support in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees to non-federal dam safety projects.
The CWIFP will focus on the maintenance, upgrade, and repair of dams identified in the National Inventory of Dams, accelerating investments in water resources infrastructure. By offering long-term, low-cost loans with flexible repayment options to creditworthy borrowers, the program aims to enhance dam safety, promote resilience, and generate financial savings for crucial infrastructure investments.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Mr. Michael Connor, emphasized the significance of the new program, stating, "By expanding the tools for infrastructure financing, the Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program will accelerate completion of dam safety projects nationwide." The initiative aims to support local communities and address the challenge of funding rehabilitation, improvement, and expansion of aging civil works infrastructure, particularly dam infrastructure.
Under the finalized rule, the Corps will administer credit assistance and establish a process for assessing fees. It also outlines the policies and procedures for application evaluation, approval, and the servicing and monitoring of direct loans and loan guarantees. The program will prioritize projects benefiting economically disadvantaged communities, offering fee waivers and project financing of up to 80% of total project costs.
"This program will help address the nation's significant challenge in financing dam infrastructure projects," stated Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, US Army Corps of Engineers' commanding general. The CWIFP represents an innovative approach to support infrastructure investment while reducing reliance on federal funding. It is expected to provide approximately $7.5 billion in total project financing, supporting up to $15 billion in infrastructure investment nationwide.
The CWIFP was authorized under the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, commonly referred to as the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014. Additional funding and statutory direction were provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in 2021.
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register and become effective 30 days after its posting. Once in effect, the Corps will issue a notice of funding availability, officially opening the program and providing interested borrowers with instructions for the application process. More information about the CWIFP can be found at https://www.usace.army.mil/CWIFP.