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(INDIANAPOLIS) – A $400 million federal loan will help pay for 20 Indiana water projects, and should save you and the state money.

The Obama Administration began a water infrastructure loan program five years ago to help cities and towns pay for projects to repair sewers and ensure clean drinking water. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler says the program has typically funded single projects, always in urban areas, because local governments must come up with half the money themselves.

Indiana got around that obstacle by bundling together 20 projects, from a sewer main repair in Patoka to Indy’s $2 billion overhal of its storm sewers, and using the state’s own revolving loan fund to cover the local match. The result is nearly a billion dollars for water treatment plants, sewer repairs, wells and other projects. 

80{46ff1f14221e6e90aab6104ff16614ca22b12c1f029f774ee196565ca96b3af3} of the money is going to the DigIndy tunnel project in Indy and a multiyear sewer project in Evansville, but Wheeler says it’s the first time the program has funded rural projects.

Wheeler says the loans will cost Indiana $20 million less than it would to float bonds. And Citizens Energy CEO Jeff Harrison says the half-billion dollars for DigIndy is money the utility won’t need in rate hikes.

Lawrence and Greenwood will receive $73 million. Other cities included in the loans are Attica, Crown Point, Delphi, Greensburg, Greentown, Hillsdale, Jasonville, Marshall, Schneider, Shirley, Uniondale, Walkerton, Warsaw, Winchester and Woodburn.

Gov. Eric Holcomb (left) with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)