Fed Infrastructure Bill Provides $31.9 Million for USVI Water Infrastructure

A repaired section of the 24” water main along the St. Thomas waterfront in 2020. The aging pipes may get funding for improvements under new federal appropriations. (Water and Power Authority image)

The U.S. Virgin Islands will get $31.9 million out of about $50 billion in the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law recently approved by Congress that is slated for work to upgrade the nation’s aging water infrastructure.

According to a release Thursday from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the money will create jobs while upgrading America’s aging water infrastructure and addressing key challenges like lead in drinking water and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances contamination. In a letter sent to Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. Thursday, EPA Administrator Michael Regan encouraged the U.S. Virgin Islands to maximize the impact of water funding from the law to address disproportionate environmental burdens in historically underserved communities across the islands.

“With President Biden’s leadership and congressional action, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has created a historic opportunity to correct longstanding environmental and economic injustices across America,” Regan said in the agency release. “As leaders, we must seize this moment. Billions of dollars are about to start flowing to states, and it is critical that EPA partners with states, Tribes, and territories to ensure the benefits of these investments are delivered in the most equitable way.”

EPA will reportedly allocate $7.4 billion to states, Tribes, and territories for 2022, with nearly half of this funding available as grants or principal forgiveness loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers.

The 2022 allocation is the first of five years of nearly $44 billion in dedicated EPA State Revolving Fund money that states will receive through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. According to the EPA, for more than 30 years, the State Revolving Funds have been the foundation of water infrastructure investments, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. However, many vulnerable communities facing water challenges have not received their fair share of federal water infrastructure funding. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states have an opportunity to correct this disparity.

For more information, including state-by-state allocation of 2022 funding, and a breakdown of EPA funding by SRF program, and additional funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, please visit: epa.gov/infrastructure.