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DOD/COE RIN: 0710-AB31 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: Credit Assistance for Water Resources Infrastructure Projects 
Abstract:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposes to implement a new credit program for dam safety work at non-Federal dams.  The program is authorized under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA) and Division D, title 1 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. WIFIA authorizes the Corps to provide secured (direct) loans and loan guarantees (Federal Credit instruments) to eligible water resources infrastructure projects and to charge fees to recover all or a portion of the Corps' cost of providing credit assistance and the costs of conducting engineering reviews and retaining expert firms, including financial and legal services, to assist in the underwriting and servicing of Federal credit instruments. Projects would be evaluated and selected by the Secretary of the Army (the Secretary) based on the requirements and the criteria described in this rule.

 
Agency: Department of Defense(DOD)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 33 CFR 386   
Legal Authority: Pub. L. 114-94    Pub. L. 114-322    Pub. L. 115-270    33 U.S.C. 3901   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The USACE WIFIA program is focused on providing Federal loans, and potentially to also include loan guarantees, to projects for maintaining, upgrading, and repairing dams identified in the National Inventory of Dams owned by non-federal entities. These loans will be repaid with non-Federal funding.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The USACE WIFIA program was authorized under Subtitle C of Title V of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014), which authorizes USACE to provide secured (direct) loans, and potentially to also include loan guarantees, to eligible water resources infrastructure projects (needed further authorization was provided by Division D, Title 1 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020). The statute also authorizes USACE to charge fees to recover all or a portion of USACE’s cost of providing credit assistance and the costs of conducting engineering reviews and retaining expert firms, including financial and legal services, to assist in the underwriting and servicing of Federal credit instruments.

The Fiscal 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, provided USACE WIFIA appropriations of $2.2M admin, and $12M credit subsidy and a loan volume limit of $950M. These appropriated funds are limited to fund projects focused on maintaining, upgrading, and repairing dams identified in the National Inventory of Dams owned by non-federal entities.

Alternatives:

The preferred alternative would be to conduct proposed rulemaking to implement a new credit program for dam safety work at non-Federal dams in the form of a binding regulation in compliance with the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA) and Division D, title 1 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. The next best alternative would involve issuing these implementing procedures in the form of an Engineer Regulation. That alternative would not fulfill the intent of the law because it would not be binding on the regulated public. The no action alternative would be to not conduct rulemaking which would not fulfill the authorization provided by Congress.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The proposed rule would add Corps procedures to the CFR on the implementation of a new credit program for dam safety work at non-Federal dams to allow for consistent implementation across the Corps and clear understanding of the program and its requirements by the regulated public. The USACE would incur costs to administer the loan program while benefits are expected for the public in the form of benefits from projects enabled by WIFIA loans.

Risks:

The proposed action is not anticipated to increase risk to public health, safety, or the environment because it outlines the procedures the Corps will follow for implementing a federal loan program. The Corps will comply with all statutory requirements when reviewing requests.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/00/2021 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Related RINs: Merged with 0710-AB32 
Agency Contact:
Aaron Snyder
Department of Defense
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
441 G Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20314
Phone:651 290-5489
Email: aaron.m.snyder@usace.army.mil