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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 1999

Governor Announces State Loan Program Passes Billion Dollar Mark

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan announced today that Illinois has topped the $1 billion mark in low interest loans to fund drinking water and wastewater treatment projects.

The milestone was reached when 16 projects qualified for a total of $42,644,695 in loans from the state's Revolving Loan Fund, administered through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, to push the total to $1,031,116,558.

"These loan programs have helped hundreds of communities across Illinois upgrade their wastewater treatment and public water supply facilities," Ryan said. "By combining our efforts with the federal government, we are able to fund these projects to help ensure that the water is safe for our families to consume."

The latest package of loans includes six wastewater projects and nine drinking water projects. This brings the total wastewater loans to 295 since that program began in 1989, and drinking water loans to 35 since that component was kicked off in 1997.

Governor Ryan's Illinois FIRST program includes funding to provide the full state matching share to maximize the federal loan funds for at least the next five years.

The loans currently carry a 2.535 percent interest rate and are funded by 80 percent federal dollars and 20 percent state matching funds. Money repaid goes back into the program to fund new loans. More than $225 million in repayments have been received through Sept. 30.

Illinois EPA Director Thomas Skinner said the financial milestone "underscores the IEPA's commitment to protect both the environment and public health through assisting communities in providing safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment."

In addition to the 14 latest applicants who have met all requirements and been approved for loans, another five drinking water projects and seven wastewater projects have reached the final step in the process before actually receiving a loan, and will be sent letters of commitment. These confirm that funding will be available for the proposed projects while the bidding process is completed.

The low-interest loan program originated as a vehicle for competitive-rate funding for wastewater projects, and made its first loan late in 1989. A comparable program to meet drinking water needs was given federal approval in the 1996 re-authorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Attached is a list of recipients.



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