Oregon City officials met with representatives from Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden last week to discuss the recent awarding of federal loans to fund needed water infrastructure projects, as well as other needs moving forward.
Oregon City voters approved a ballot measure in 2021 authorizing the City to secure loans in order to finance much needed modernization of the City’s water system. The City then applied for funding through the Federal Government’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or WIFIA. The City received word earlier this year that they were approved for the financing, with the EPA making the announcement last week.
“Funding will allow the city to address cyber security, rehabilitate and replace aging infrastructure and improve water transmission in the system to better serve its customers now and in the future,” said Special Projects Senior Engineer and Project Manager for the City and the WIFIA Program Manager Patty Nelson.
By qualifying for the loan from the WIFIA program, the City is saving substantial amounts of money due to lower than market value interest rates.
“The City's history of responsible spending and debt management helped us qualify for the federal loan, which has a more favorable interest rate and loan terms than a traditional bank or open market borrowing,” said Finance Director Matt Zook.
In addition to crediting the City staff for successfully navigating the extensive process to get the loan, Mayor Denyse McGriff said thanks go to the residents as well.
“The voters of Oregon City also get the credit for making this project possible and the money savings. If it weren’t for their approval, we wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of the WIFIA program.”
Work has already started on projects funded through the WIFIA program. The Main Street Waterline Improvements was the first rehab project. The first transmission improvement project is currently in the design phase.
Residents can learn more about the City’s plans and the funding on the website here: https://bit.ly/orcity-wifia.