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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2004

Contact: Karen Hershey
(609) 984-1795

LOW COST FINANCING BOOSTS CLEAN WATER PROTECTION IN NEW JERSEY

Trenton Water Works Reaps Benefits for the City

(04/109) Trenton -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) today announced funding for the City of Trenton to clean and upgrade water mains that supply drinking water to over 250,000 people in the Trenton area. This year, DEP and EIT are awarding nearly $300 million in the form of low interest loans to communities for projects that restore and protect New Jersey's drinking water supplies.

"Cities and towns need help in meeting tough standards to protect New Jersey's rivers and beaches," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Targeted reforms to DEP's financing programs and new resources from the Environmental Infrastructure Trust are accelerating needed clean water infrastructure while easing the burden on taxpayers and ratepayers."

The City of Trenton has received a 13 million dollar EIT loan to clean, reline and replace almost 30 miles of water mains in the City of Trenton and Hamilton Township. The purpose of the project is to increase water pressure and satisfy fire protection demands. Trenton's water supply system consists of over 620 miles of water mains with 61,000 service connections, supplying nearly 29 million gallons of potable water per day to Trenton and surrounding areas.

The project is not expected to cause major interference with traffic flows.

"These low interest loans make possible the very kinds of timely upgrades that came into play just last weekend, when the Delaware River sent more than 20 times the normal flow of water into our stormwater drainage system," said Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer. "We pay constant attention to the improvement of our infrastructure and the quality of our water, and we hold the line on rates, so that our water service costs customers less than any service in this region. The Environmental Infrastructure Trust and DEP are valued partners in this critically important effort."

Under the program, each borrower receives two loans. One loan is from the DEP at 0 percent interest. The other part of the loan is from bonds issued by the AAA-rated EIT. Through this innovative partnership, borrowers can receive loans at half the current market rate and can better finance much needed infrastructure improvements in their communities.

"Our program has provided financing of over 2 billion dollars to 495 projects across New Jersey," said EIT Chairman Robert Briant. "This investment has been instrumental in the improvement of water quality in our state; however, we know that there is much more work to be done. Our goal is for every municipality in our state to do as Trenton is doing and take advantage of a wonderful loan interest rate program for water quality improvement, storm water management, the purchase of open space, Brownfields redevelopment and drinking water supply improvements."

The DEP and the EIT in partnership are responsible for a program that provides 20-year low interest loans for projects that will protect water resources and drinking water supplies.

In an effort to promote redevelopment of urban areas and stop sprawl, DEP and EIT have improved the loan program even further, initiating "Smart Growth Project" loans that provide loans at one-quarter of the market rate for projects that correct combined sewer overflows, purchase open space or are in targeted urban areas.

Under EIT's interim loan program, eligible projects with pre-award approval can receive a zero percent interim loan for up to one year until the next bond sale which will then remove the interim loan and replace it with a long term loan less than then the current market rate. Under this program, eligible borrowers who are prepared to move forward with a project can get started prior to receiving the award.

The DEP and the EIT also provide low interest loans to purchase open space for the protection of critical water resources and drinking water aquifers.

For more information about EIT and its financing programs, visit EIT's website at: http://www.njeit.org/index2.html

 

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