The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that the Government of Puerto Rico has repaid its $194.5 million debt to the Puerto Rico Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs).
According to the EPA, this is the result of three years of dedicated effort between the EPA and the Government of Puerto Rico to ensure that Puerto Rican communities can access low-interest loans to replace or upgrade aging or inadequate water infrastructure.
“Today’s announcement is a welcome and important step toward returning the Puerto Rico State Revolving Funds to financial viability,” said David Ross, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water. “The $194.5 million repayment to the Puerto Rico Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs means that these funds will be available to protect public health and pay for critically-needed drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.”
According to EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated portions of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, it made it clear the critical need for lasting and sustainable improvements in Puerto Rico.
“Restoration of this funding is a critical step in EPA’s comprehensive and continuing efforts to help Puerto Rico recover from the hurricanes, with a focus on helping communities and building capacity within Puerto Rico’s government,” Lopez said.
According to Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority Chief Executive Officer Christian Sobrino, the recapitalization of the Puerto Rico Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs has proved the commitment of Puerto Rico and the administration of Governor Ricardo Rosselló with the implementation of federal programs and the financing of projects that benefit vulnerable communities in the Island.
“The Puerto Rico SRFs will be fully deposited in two recently created trusts to safeguard their future operations and provide accessible sources of financing to develop infrastructure projects to improve access to drinking water and maintenance of sanitary sewers in the communities of Puerto Rico,” Sobrino said.