Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (Bank) is a quasi-public entity that serves as Rhode Island’s central hub for financing infrastructure improvements for municipalities, businesses, and homeowners. Established by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1989 as the Clean Water Finance Agency, the Infrastructure Bank’s mandate was significantly expanded in 2015 to include energy and brownfield remediation initiatives. To better reflect its restructured charter and service capabilities, the Clean Water Finance Agency was re-branded as Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. Retooled and rebranded, the Infrastructure Bank has a broad directive to pursue local investments in domestic low-carbon technologies, climate resilient infrastructure, and other green segments, like water management systems.
The Bank manages Revolving Loan Funds that are capitalized via federal grants, state contributions, and other funds. The Infrastructure Bank maximizes its lending capacity by leveraging its limited program equity in the capital markets to unlock larger pools of private capital. This capitalized pool financing model empowers the Bank to create economies of scale and invest in more near-term infrastructure projects with a limited amount of program equity. The Infrastructure Bank’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund successfully leverages over four dollars of private capital for every federally funded dollar for investments in sewer pipes, wastewater treatment plants, rain gardens, and septic systems.
The Bank’s Efficient Buildings Fund provides local governments, schools and quasi-state entities with below-market interest rate loans to fund energy efficiency & renewable energy generation initiatives. The Efficient Buildings Fund has provided financing for a myriad of projects ranging from construction of a municipally owned wind turbine, to retrofitting a city’s streetlights with more efficient LED bulbs.
By fulfilling its directive to actively support and finance green investments in Rhode Island’s infrastructure, the Bank fosters community improvements that create jobs, promote economic development and enhance the environment.
Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank programs are eligible to the following segments:
Local & Municipal
The Infrastructure Bank’s municipal programs offer extensive solutions across a range of infrastructure assets. Foremost, the Bank’s Clean & Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF & DWSRF) offer borrowers below market interest rate loans to improve drinking water quality and decrease water pollution. The Bank also manages an Efficient Buildings Fund, which makes long-term financing available for municipalities and quasi-public agencies to complete energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to public buildings. Also open to local governments is the Bank’s Municipal Road and Bridge Revolving Fund, which provides cities and towns access to affordable capital to complete road and bridge infrastructure projects. Lastly, in service of remediating properties contaminated with hazardous substances, the Bank makes financing available to municipalities through its Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund.
Quasi-State Agencies & Public Colleges
Quasi-State Agencies, along with public colleges, have access to several of the same program offerings as municipalities. Specifically, these organizations are eligible to borrow from the Bank’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Efficient Buildings Fund. Proceeds from such loans are deployed to upgrade critical water infrastructure or to implement energy and cost-saving building improvements.
Commercial Property & Business Owners
C-PACE provides commercial property owners access to long-term, fixed-rate financing for energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements. Projects eligible for Rhode Island C-PACE financing include upgrades, such as lighting retrofits, insulation, heating, and cooling systems, as well as those looking to implement renewable energy generation systems. This unique program requires no upfront capital cost to the building owner or real estate developer and has a maximum term length of 25 years. Like a sewer assessment, the debt service is then included and paid down through the buildings’ tax assessment. Via this repayment mechanism, the C-PACE loan is transferable to the next building owner and does not follow the original borrower in the event of a property sale. Moreover, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects may be eligible for additional State and utility incentives.
The Bank also oversees the Community Septic System Loan Program & Sewer Tie-In Loan Fund. These initiatives make available low-cost, long-term financing to private property owners for the repair or replacement of a septic system, to replace a cesspool with a septic system, or to connect to the local sewer system
Since inception, the Infrastructure Bank’s activities have led to significant results for the residents of Rhode Island. They have created and supported over 55,000 jobs and provided over US$2 billion in lending. Of that, loans totaling US$1.5 billion have been made through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and nearly US$490 million in drinking water loans have been made to Rhode Island communities and water suppliers. The Infrastructure Bank has also closed 724 low-cost loans to residents through the Community Septic System Loan Program. In 2018 alone, the Bank extended almost US$11 million in Efficient Buildings Fund loans. Local impacts of featured projects are described on the Bank’s website.
To date, the Bank’s green-energy offerings have created emissions reductions equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of 5,100 American homes, while simultaneously generating gross-cash savings north of $70 million.
Last updated December 20, 2018