CASA Explores State Revolving Fund Program Improvements
In early May, CASA members met with staff from the State Water Board’s Division of Financial Assistance to continue discussions on the future direction of California’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. The Board recently released the draft Intended Use Plan, which proposes to fund 39 projects at $1.2 billion. The Water Board staff has set an annual SRF funding target of $900 million to $1.2 billion. The focus of the May meeting was on how California can further leverage or increase this funding level, given the $7 billion in demand. The participants agreed to jointly explore ideas such a higher interest rate option for rated agencies in exchange for incentives; opportunities for increased investment return at the State Treasurer’s office and incorporation of a State WIFIA loan into the portfolio.
The group also discussed opportunities for streamlining and greater efficiencies, to speed up the application and funding process including consideration of a separate planning and design funding list, eliminating the requirement for a final budget amendment and allowing applicants to complete the loan checklist with references to documentation. Next steps include forming a joint workgroup to evaluate the leveraging options and a joint meeting with DFA environmental review staff to identify process improvements of mutual benefit.