Governor Kulongoski announces $27.8 Million in federal stimulus awards
18 Oregon Communities are awarded stimulus funds for safe drinking water project, creating 500 jobs across the state
(Salem) - Governor Ted Kulongoski today announced that the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department (OECDD) awarded federal recovery funds to 18 Oregon community water systems totaling $27.8 million to help construct and improve to drinking water systems across the state.
“These funds will help communities across the state provide clean and safe drinking water while also creating more than 500 construction jobs for Oregonians,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski. “These dollars will deliver projects from Warrenton to Elgin and Fern Valley to Portland to improve the public health of thousands of Oregonians while also investing in these local economies.”
The federal recovery dollars are part of $2 billion awarded nationwide by Environmental Protection Agency to fund drinking water infrastructure projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) sets the standards for the drinking water system improvements and determines eligible projects while OECDD works with applicants across the state to develop financing packages and manage the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (SDWRLF).
“By leveraging these federal stimulus dollars with existing state safe drinking water funds we have enabled 18 Oregon communities to fully fund pending construction projects totaling more than $45 million,” said Tim McCabe, director of OECDD. “This is the best possible use of stimulus dollars here in Oregon: a near-term boost with the creation of more than 500 jobs and the long-term benefit of safe, clean drinking water.”
The Department combined the $27.8 million if federal funding from ARRA with $13.9 million in existing state SDWRL funds and local funds to help finance 18 projects with a total value of $45.2 million. Overall, more than 50% of the Safe Drinking Water funds awarded will go to local community water systems in the form of grants or forgivable loans. The remaining amounts were loaned to the communities for 20 years at a 3% interest rate.
“Aging and inadequate infrastructure causes many communities to struggle to reliably provide safe drinking water,” said Dr. Mel Kohn, acting state public health director in the Oregon Department of Human Services. “These investments will not only support good jobs but also upgrade drinking water systems that are fundamental to the health of Oregonians.”
For the last month, OECDD staff reviewed 112 applications submitted from across the state. At least 20% of the funds provided have to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.
Communities are expected to execute contracts by July 30 and federal requirements call for projects to be under construction no later than next March.
The Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund program provides low-interest loans and grants for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.
Since the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program began in 1997, EPA has awarded more than $8 billion in grants, which states have turned into $15 billion of financial assistance to fund safe drinking water projects.
For a map of the locations and descriptions of the different projects click here.
For further information about the Safe Drinking Water Program and federal stimulus visit http://econ.oregon.gov/ECDD/recovery/index.shtml.
For information on EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program
Information on the Oregon Department of Human Service’s Drinking Water program: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/dwp/index.shtml
The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department works to create, retain, expand, and attract businesses that provide sustainable, living wage jobs for Oregonians through public-private partnerships, leveraged funding, and support of economic opportunities for Oregon companies and entrepreneurs. Visit www.oregon4biz.com for more information on doing business in Oregon.
Anna Richter Taylor, 503-378-6169
Courtney Warner (The Oregon Way), 503-378-3554
Lynn Schoessler (OECDD), 503-986-0110 or Marc Zolton (OECDD), 503-986-0101