Storm drainage project certified to receive $53 million loan in El Paso

SAN ANTONIO, TX, Sept. 10, 2009 -- The Board of Directors of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and the North American Development Bank (NADB) has approved the certification of a stormwater project in El Paso, Texas, along with a US$53 million loan...

SAN ANTONIO, TX, Sept. 10, 2009 -- The Board of Directors of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and the North American Development Bank (NADB) has approved the certification of a stormwater project in El Paso, Texas, along with a US$53 million loan.

The 20-year loan will be made in the form of a bond issue through the Build America Bond program authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under this program the federal government will reimburse the City for 35% of the interest payments on the loan.

The City of El Paso, through the El Paso Water Utilities Board, is in charge of the operation and maintenance of the stormwater system and will carry out the first phase of a comprehensive capital investment program, which entails improving and expanding stormwater services in the Central, East, Mission Valley, Northeast, and Northwest watersheds of El Paso. This phase is expected to be completed within a period of no more than three years.

In addition to reducing the community's risk of flooding, system improvements will help recharge the Hueco Bolson Aquifer, one of the main sources of drinking water for the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez region, which has been rapidly depleted in recent years.

The bond proceeds will cover approximately 78.5% of the total cost of the project, which is estimated at US$67.5 million. The remaining construction costs will be covered by equity contributions from the City of El Paso, as well as a loan from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).

To date, BECC has certified 161 environmental infrastructure projects along the U.S.-Mexico border, which represent a total investment of approximately US$3.46 billion. NADB is providing approximately US$960.5 million in loans and grants to support 128 of those projects. BECC-certified and NADB-financed projects are estimated to be benefiting almost 12 million residents of the U.S.-Mexico border region through improved infrastructure for a cleaner environment.

BECC is an international organization established by the governments of the United States and Mexico that works to preserve, protect and enhance human health and the environment of the U.S.-Mexico border region, by strengthening cooperation among interested parties and supporting sustainable projects through a transparent binational process in close coordination with NADB, federal, state and local agencies, the private sector and civil society.

The North American Development Bank is a financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects along their common border. As a pioneer institution in its field, the Bank is working to develop integrated, sustainable and fiscally responsible projects with broad community support in a framework of close cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States.

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