R.I. Infrastructure Bank finances new round of wastewater projects

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is providing $47.3 million in financing for wastewater, sewer and stormwater projects for the Narragansett Bay Commission and the town of Bristol.

The projects are being financed through the state-created bank’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, saving about $5.2 million in interest expense if the commission and the town had borrowed the money directly from the bond market, the bank said.

The bulk – $45 million – went to the commission for “systemwide sewer improvements, green stormwater infrastructure, and engineering and planning services,” the bank said, saving the commission $5 million in interest expense by using the bank’s below-market interest rate lending program for clean-water projects.

“To date, the bank has provided over $1.5 billion in financing to Rhode Island communities for clean-water projects,” Infrastructure Bank CEO Jeffrey R. Diehl said in a news release. “The bank is proud to be building on that track record by extending below-market financing” to the town and the commission.

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“We are deeply committed to ensuring the long-term structural integrity of Rhode Island’s critical infrastructure systems,” Diehl said.

The bank’s Clean Water Program, which includes the revolving fund, is the state’s largest financier of local water-infrastructure projects. The fund enables municipalities and quasi-public agencies in Rhode Island to access below-market-rate loans to complete projects that will mitigate the effects of water pollution.

“Narragansett Bay Commission values its long-standing partnership with the R.I. Infrastructure Bank,” Laurie A. Horridge, the commission’s executive director, said in a statement. “Thanks to the bank’s impressive stewardship of the state revolving loan fund, NBC’s ratepayers have invested in infrastructure that has made Narragansett Bay cleaner than it has been in 150 years and we anticipate continued improvements in water quality for future generations.”

“The town of Bristol is grateful to the Infrastructure Bank for [its] assistance with upgrades to our wastewater-treatment facility and sewer system,” added Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente. “This financing will not only allow us to improve our water quality in Bristol, it will also improve the quality of life for Bristol residents for years to come.”

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.