Washington D.C.– The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $345.5 million in 20 infrastructure projects to improve rural electric service in 14 states. USDA is making the investments through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. This program helps finance generation, transmission and distribution projects; system improvements; and energy conservation projects in communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. The loans include $7.9 million for smart grid technology. This includes computer applications, two-way communications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems. USDA is announcing investments in rural communities in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Below are a few examples of the projects USDA is funding:
– In Colorado, the San Isabel Electric Association is receiving a $15.8 million loan to build 63 miles of line and improve 143 miles to serve consumers in Huerfano, Las Animas, Pueblo, Custer, Otero and Costilla counties. The loan includes $752,021 for smart grid projects.
– Minnesota’s Goodhue County Electric Cooperative Association will use a $7.75 million loan to construct 28 miles of line and improve 72 miles. The loan includes $315,000 for smart grid projects. Goodhue’s service territory is predominantly agricultural. Most non-farm employment is associated with agricultural and food processing activities.
– In Georgia, Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation will use a $61.2 million loan to build 302 miles of line and improve 110 miles. The loan includes $64,000 for smart grid projects. Agriculture and tourism are the major industries in Amicalola’s service territory.
New York- The redevelopment of the Freightway site in Scarsdale has taken a step forward as officials have outlined a two-part process to find a developer for an aging five-story parking garage and two surface lots. In February, the Freightway Steering Committee presented a study of the 2.5-acre site. The report considered eight months of public input and research. The request for expression of interest (RFEI) calls for developers’ conceptual plans and a description of how they should integrate a mixed-use facility that includes housing, retail, public space and parking. Submissions will be accepted until Oct. 15.
The ideas outlined in the committee’s report are estimated to cost between $52 million and $173 million. There are four different development suggestions from a feasibility study that was conducted earlier in 2018. The next step calls for creating a brief list of developers and a request for proposals, which will take into consideration ideas gathered from the RFEIs. The firms will then submit a proposal with development plans, which will be reviewed by village officials. It could take 9 to 12 months before a final developer is chosen for the project.
Nebraska– Omaha has received a $69.7 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This loan will help finance the Saddle Creek Retention Treatment Basin. The combined sewer system in the Saddle Creek Basin fills with stormwater and overflows during wet weather events. This sends millions of gallons of polluted runoff and sewage into the Little Papillion Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River.
When the Saddle Creek Combined Sewer Overflow Retention Treatment Basin is completed in 2022, it will collect and treat up to 320 million gallons of wastewater and stormwater daily that would have spilled into the creek during wet weather. The project has an estimated construction cost of $93 million to $103 million. The overall project is estimated to cost $142.2 million and EPA’s WIFIA loan will help finance nearly half of the project’s eligible costs, including study, design, construction administration, inspection, material testing, land acquisition and construction costs. Because the WIFIA program offers loans with low, fixed interest rates, EPA’s loan is expected to save the City of Omaha up to $20M. Project construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2019.
Indiana– Indiana and the Environmental Protection Agency plan to leverage $436 million in public loans into an even larger private capital investment to modernize Indiana’s aging water infrastructure. The federal government will provide around $30 million for wastewater projects and an estimated $12 million in drinking water projects. Hammond is one of several cities receiving funding in the amount of $67.5 million to increase the capacity of its sewer system. The city of Crown Point will receive $19.3 million and East Chicago $14.1 million.
Most of Indiana’s pipes were installed after World War II, though some still in use date back to the 1890s. Many of the pipes are made of lead or other metals that are corroded due to age. Indiana has more than 46,000 miles of water pipes operated by community water systems that serve 72 percent of the state’s population.