California WaterFix was not selected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for a water infrastructure WIFIA loan for 2019. WIFIA loans are generally used for public-private-partnerships, and are guaranteed by U.S. taxpayers.
Restore the Delta was the first entity to track this process and has worked on uncovering and tracking WIFIA loan activities since 2016, with an added effort since this summer with the launch of the Design Construction Finance Authority for the tunnels project.
We have not, however, done this work alone.
We need to thank U.S. Congressional Representatives John Garamendi, Mike Thompson, Jerry McNerney, Jared Huffman, Doris Matsui, and Eric Swalwell for their letters to and advocacy with USEPA. We also need to thank the California State Legislators who make up the Delta Caucus: State Senators Cathleen Galgiani, Richard Pan, Steve Glazer; and Assemblymembers Susan Talamantes Eggman, Cecilia Aguilar-Curry, Kevin McCarty, and Tim Grayson. We are grateful to Assemblymember Jim Frazier and Senator Bill Dodd for leading the way on the letter sent to the USEPA on behalf of the Delta Caucus.
Looking at WIFIA loan criteria, we believe CA WaterFix was not chosen because:
- WaterFix has not finished all pre-construction activities;
- WaterFix is not under construction at this moment, and does not already exist to be rebuilt, rehabbed or replaced;
- WaterFix’s real property interest in water is not completed—they don’t have their water rights permit modification yet;
- WaterFix’s financing is not complete.
Long story short: This is an important win for the Delta. Horse. Cart. Not cart, horse.
In addition, the Delta Caucus, in another effort, led this time by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, has sent a letter to Governor Brown regarding conversations unfolding between the Brown Administration and the Trump Administration about the WaterFix tunnels. In this letter, the Delta Caucus states that any conversations around the project that exclude Delta communities are unacceptable. (We will send out links to letters etc. next week.)
Time to keep the pressure on regarding stopping the tunnels. Let’s celebrate this most recent battle victory, and keep moving forward.