“Investment in our state’s water and sewer infrastructure stimulates the economy, promotes the stewardship of our natural resources, and helps to meet Georgia’s future water needs,” said Gov. Perdue. “The projects approved today will improve water system efficiency and will ensure clean and safe water.”
“The federal water and sewer programs administered by GEFA assist local governments with improving their environmental infrastructure,” said GEFA Executive Director Phil Foil. “Financing water and sewer projects encourages economic growth and the stewardship of our environment.”
Foil expressed appreciation to Governor Perdue, Georgia’s Congressional delegation and the members of the General Assembly for their support. He credited Governor Perdue’s commitment to helping Georgia cities and counties finance infrastructure development as one of the main contributors to GEFA’s success.
“The projects that we agreed to finance today illustrate how GEFA helps communities of all sizes, in all areas of the state,” said Matt Beasley, chairman of the GEFA board of directors and mayor of the city of Hartwell. “From the smallest of communities to the largest, GEFA is investing in communities that are willing to invest in themselves.”
GEFA helps communities prepare for economic growth and development through the provision of low interest loans. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is a federal loan program administered by GEFA for wastewater infrastructure and water pollution abatement projects. Eligible projects include a wide variety of storm water and wastewater collection and treatment projects. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is a federal loan program administered by GEFA for water infrastructure projects. Eligible projects include public health-related water supply construction.
In February, Congress approved and the President signed the ARRA, which included a substantial investment in the CWSRF and the DWSRF programs. The ARRA also directs the states to reserve 20 percent of the ARRA funding for “…projects to address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements or other environmentally innovative activities.”
Under the ARRA financing terms adopted by the GEFA board of directors, cities or counties that are OneGeorgia-eligible qualify for a 70 percent subsidy. Cities or counties that are not OneGeorgia-eligible qualify for a 40 percent subsidy. Cities or counties with eligible green projects qualify for a 60 percent subsidy. For example, if a OneGeorgia-eligible community applies for a $1 million loan, then 70 percent of the loan will be forgiven, up to a maximum of $700,000, subject to the loan contract provisions. The community will close on a loan of up to$300,000 at a three percent interest rate. OneGeorgia-eligible communities are located outside the state’s metropolitan areas and have a population of 50,000 or less with a poverty rate of ten percent or greater. The unprecedented amounts of subsidy in the ARRA financing terms will help Georgia meet the ARRA’s short-term goals of job creation and economic stimulus.
Georgia local governments expressed a tremendous amount of interest in the ARRA funds. Cities and counties submitted more than 1,600 clean water, drinking water and green projects with total costs exceeding $6 billion. Total available funding for projects through the ARRA is $144 million. Funding is obligated to projects on a first-come-first-served basis.